Accessing Alexa is quite simple; you only need to tap the microphone button, which resides beside the camera button within the Amazon app. From there, you can ask Alexa to play music, tell you the weather forecast, make a purchase via Amazon, track a package, or any other number of functions that you might do with a dedicated Echo or Echo Dot.
The downside to the app-centric approach, however, is that you will have to open the Amazon app each time you want to access Alexa. So, don’t even think of trying to use this as a replacement for Siri, which has system-wide access on your iPhone or iPad.
As someone who owns two Echo Dots, I also ran into another problem when using Alexa via the Amazon app. I opened the app and asked Alexa “What’s the forecast for tomorrow”, completely forgetting that my downstairs Alexa was just about 10 feet away. Needless to say, I had two “speakers” telling me that there will be a high of 58 degrees tomorrow.
With that being said, the Amazon app is a quick and easy way to turn your iPhone into an “Echo” if you can put up with the downsides. You’ll have access to the majority of Alexa’s skills, which means that you’ll have the freedom to control all the devices in your smart home.
However, we doubt that you’ll have access to Echo-exclusive promotions that Amazon runs from time to time. Those will likely remain reserved for customers that have plunked down cash for an Echo or Echo Dot.