Further to previous reports that Apple was looking to implement voice recognition technology in iOS 5, a new article from TechCrunch suggests that Apple is looking to license speech recognition technology from Nuance Communications, the company behind the popular Dragon Dictation app for iOS devices. This had previously been rumored when it was suggested by Steve Wozniak that Apple had purchased Nuance, a comment that was later retracted, but the new report states that Apple is indeed looking to reach an agreement with the company.
Many have commented that Wozniak was actually referring to the agreement with Siri, the popular personal organizer app for iOS, which Apple purchased in April 2010. However, a partnership with Nuance would likely suggest that voice control and speech recognition would form a key component of the new iOS 5 operating system, due to be previewed at the WWDC meeting in early June this year.
While the new story suggests that Apple is not looking to acquire Nuance, rather license and incorporate the technology into forthcoming devices, it backs up previous reports that Apple has been hiring speech recognition technology specialists and is looking to make big steps forward in the area.
In December, I wrote an editorial about why voice control of iOS devices would never be more than a gimmick and, as a result of re-reading it, the argument still holds water. Have a look and see if you agree.