Amazon gives Alexa a new iOS widget and the ability to assign reminders

Amazon updated the Alexa app on iOS so you can access the voice assistant directly from your home screen via a new widget. Anyone can use the assistant to remind specific members of your household to complete tasks via a new ‘assign reminders’ skill.

Due to the somewhat restrictive nature of the widgets on iOS, the new Ask Alexa widget isn’t so much Alexa itself, but a direct link to the iOS app. But if you’ve placed the Alexa widget on one of your screens and you’ve already given the Alexa app permission to use your iPhone’s microphone, you can start making requests with a single tap.

The Ask Alexa widget in iOS.

And now those requests can get a little more granular. Amazon has given Alexa the ability to assign reminders to specific members of your household if they have a voice profile set up on the same Amazon Alexa account. So if you say, “Alexa, remind Jeff to take the lasagna out of the freezer at 10 a.m.,” Alexa can deliver the reminder to the right person at the right time through the Alexa app. You can add profiles to your Alexa account in Settings under Your Profile, and Amazon says you can assign each a relationship nickname like mom, dad, daughter, etc.

Alexa picks up new features and skills every month, but Amazon also announced plans in June to open up Alexa even further to third-party developers. The many new APIs allow developers to create custom widgets for the Echo Show.