Gimmick? Apple Looking To Offer ‘Nuance’ Voice Recognition In iOS 5

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.

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  • Prof. Peabody

    I also think this is a good thing, but it’s definitely a “gimmick.”

    Voice navigation and voice recognition rarely gets closer than 80% accuracy. People like it because it makes them think they are in Star Trek and talking to the computer but the reality is that it just doesn’t work often enough to be relied upon. It’s useful sometimes, other times not. Hands up anyone who’s been shown the tech by some enthusiast, had it fail during the demo about ten times, and then had the person turn to them and tell them how “amazing” it was, apparently not even aware of how many times it just failed right in front of them.

    I think this is because it’s *potentially* such good idea that the enthusiasts are blinded to it’s obvious shortcomings, and when it *does* work, it’s certainly magical.

  • BananaBitch

    Voice recognition is not a gimmick if implemented well.
    On android it works really well, I use it a lot, mostly to dictate searches.

  • Mr. Mêlon Éros

    Voice recognition on iOS would be would be an awesome load of utter awesomeness. Period.

  • motionblurred

    I don’t think it’s a gimmick at all. David Pogue uses Dragon to write all of his articles due to Carpal tunnel syndrome. Depending on how deep the integration of something like this is into the OS and having a third party API to take advantage of it, it could be an incredible time saver. It could solve a lot of problems that users have with typing long-form content on the iPad.

    • AppleBitch

      As functionality that can be used by a few people on an infrequent basis, fine. As a core feature for the bulk of the user population…sticking with gimmick