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Nuance tech in iOS Assistant likely secondary to Siri

updated 10:15 am EDT, Mon August 15, 2011

Should work with Mail, Contacts, Calendar

The Assistant voice technology buried in the iOS 5 firmware will be largely dependent on Siri technology, not Nuance's, a report suggests. The codebase, including a portion that asks to "authenticate with Siri server," is said to show that Nuance's technology will only be used for voice recognition and speech-to-text functions. The core of Assistant is believed to be the Siri technology, which will actually translate voice commands into system functions.

Files found in iOS 5 hint that featurewise, Assistant may mirror the Siri iPhone app, which dates back to before Apple's acquisition of the company. Assistant should be able to access the Mail, Calendar, Contacts and Phone apps, going well beyond the music- and dialing-related commands supported by Apple's VoiceOver technology. It should also be able to tap into location data, and support all iOS 5-capable devices.

How and when Apple intends to premiere Assistant is still uncertain. For whatever reason, the feature isn't live in the current iOS 5 beta. Apple may be holding it back to coincide with the introduction of a new iPhone, generally expected in September.

by MacNN Staff





  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969


    More loudmouths

    Oh great, now we will not only have to put up with loudmouths in public places who're talking on their cell phones, now they'll be dictating emails and memos to bug us.

    There are some ideas whose time should never come.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Don't worry, Inkling

    They won't bug you. Technologies like Siri (or voice recognition per se) hardly work in noisy enviroments ("public places"), too much interference for the software to catch the words correctly. I'm pretty sure you won't see - or hear - loudmouths on the subway dictating their emails.

    But I really do hope this technology will find its way into iOS 5. Siri is a brilliant app, the Nuance voice recognition works great (exceptions: see above), and I look forward to tell my iPhone to go ahead and make a note of my next appointment... all in the privacy (and quietness) of my own office. :) I've seen Windows Phones with Mango do that, and it's a feature I'd quiet like on my iPhone.

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