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Apple working to mimic Android Voice Actions on iOS devices?

updated 10:50 pm EST, Mon December 20, 2010

Job postings hint at new functionality

Apple may be attempting to bring new voice-recognition functionality to iOS devices, potentially mimicking Google's Voice Actions for Android handsets. Although the iPhone maker has yet to confirm such plans, the company is currently trying to fill a number of positions for employees specialized in voice technologies.

The job listings, which are all tied to Apple's iOS endeavors, range from speech recognition engineers to a speech application engineer. The company is also looking to fill a higher position for a senior speech research scientist.

"You will work with our team on a wide variety of speech-related development activities," the listings read.

Apple's HR department explicitly calls for experience with Google Voice Search or alternative technologies such as Nuance Recognizer and IBM WebSphere Voice. Interestingly enough, Steve Wozniak recently recently fueled speculation after suggesting Apple was in the process of acquiring Nuance, although he later backtracked and contradicted his initial statement.

Google has continued to expand the voice-driven features available in Android, including the Voice Search and Voice Actions. Spoken commands can be used for a variety of actions: text messaging, music playback, voice calls, directions, e-mail, browser navigation, and note taking. The system was recently updated to recognize individual users, helping to improve accuracy over time.

The iPhone currently supports a limited number of voice functions, though the commands are limited to placing calls or music playback. [via 9to5Mac]

by MacNN Staff




    Comment buried. Show
  1. Jabberwolf

    Joined: Dec 1969



    What Apple copying again and then will say they invented something new.
    And the Apple sheep will believe it !!

  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Are you kidding?

    Apple is the pioneer in voice activation and control.

  1. Tjp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Fado Fado ....

    Back in the mists of time, eras long gone and forgotten, Apple Macintoshes sported voice recognition as standard. I could either have my mac listening continuously or when a key combination was held down. This lasted until my roommate would constantly utter the phrase to shut down my mac while I was working, thing it was a funny thing to do.

    Under Mac OS X not so bad as I'd be able to cancel shutdown. Pre OS X it just handily quit applications and not all of them were nice enough to prompt to save files ... just a one way slide to oblivion.

    So this is cool. I hope modern speech recognition comes to the Mac and iOS devices, but I want to disable it unless a headset is plugged in... Ya all hear me over there at Apple!!!

    "Alpha Omega Destruct Destruct" (the phrase my Mac 8500AV would quit for) to you all for the evening ...

  1. Nigel2112

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I too remember having fun with speakable items, but it has languished without progress (as have numerous technologies) for the last decade while Apple has amassed its gratuitous war chest. Now reliable and flexible voice control from 'android' has come to the fore and Apple is just now hiring to compete?
    Don't get me wrong, Apple's voice control works very well for me, but the press-home-and-wait-way-too-long activation is a pain.

  1. pairof9s

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's nice to see Apple "stealing" from those who've stolen so blatantly from the iPhone these last few years. Good for the goose, good for the gander.


  1. Gazoobee

    Joined: Dec 1969



    it seems like it's probably unintentional, but the tone of this article is "Apple is copying Google," when in fact it's the other way around and pretty much always has been. It would have been better if the author made it more explicit that Apple was first with all this stuff, and a bit more realistic about the functionality.

    Voice recognition is and always has been a faulty technology that at the best of times, works much less reliably than any other input method. Apple pioneered it, but it's more likely they haven't "run with it" like Google has on Android because they realise that it's mostly unsatisfactory and cannot be fixed.

    It's just not reliable. It's a gee-gaw add-on "feature" that most simply don't want need or use.

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bring it on

    Fruit Boys.

    Competition is always fun.

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    @ Gazoobee

    >>>Apple pioneered it, but it's more likely they haven't "run with it" like Google has on Android because they realise that it's mostly unsatisfactory and cannot be fixed.

    >>>It's just not reliable. It's a gee-gaw add-on "feature" that most simply don't want need or use.

    Gee, the voice control works really well on my Android phone. Maybe Apple hasn't figured out how to get it working correctly on the iPhone. Maybe they're programming it wrong?

    A feature that people don't want, need or use? Oh that's only because it doesn't work on the iPhone. If Apple figures out how to get it working well, it will suddenly be a sought after function and be marketed as "Revolutionary", "Unbelievable", "Indispensable" or even "Magical!".

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