The Amazon Echo was a rather unexpected hit, much like the first iPhone back in 2007. Once consumers had a taste of what the device could offer, it became very hard to part with it. Now, with the Echo and its now-iconic voice assistant called Alexa, tech giants like Google and Apple are playing catch up to the e-commerce giant.

Though Google has revealed its response to the Echo last week in the form of Google Home, Apple has been largely quiet about its intentions in the Ai-powered voice assistant market. On Tuesday, however, the Cupertino-based giant finally unveiled some of its plans, confirming its intentions to open its popular virtual assistant, Siri, to third-party developers through a dedicated SDK.

This means that pretty soon, Siri, which practically triggered the entire AI-powered voice assistant revolution, would be integrated with far more third party apps than before. Doing so would finally address one of Siri's main weaknesses - the fact that the VA is largely confined only to Apple's ecosystem.

Apart from this, Apple has also announced that it is currently developing a device that is set to take on the Amazon Echo and the Google Home. Very little is currently known about Apple's upcoming AI assistant, but it is widely speculated that it would function much like its two main competitors.

What is particularly interesting, however, is that Apple admitted that it has been working on the AI-powered device even before the Amazon Echo was released. This means that Apple's device has been under development for some time. Considering that the Echo has been released since September 2015, it would seem like Apple is probably making sure that AI-powered device would be as polished as possible.

Just like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, Apple's home voice assistant is expected to also feature a speaker and a microphone for voice input and output. Apart from this, Apple's device would also be connected to the web at all times, as well as carry deep integration with Apple's HomeKit and AirPlay technology.

Though the Ai-powered home voice assistant is not expected to be released within the next couple of months, Apple has stated that it hopes to make the Siri SDK available for the upcoming WWDC, which is set to begin in a few weeks.