Will Apple’s Assistant Bring Speech to Text into the Mainstream

by Ehsan on October 12, 2011


Apple has always prided itself on innovation, bringing the latest technological advances to the masses. Since they launched the iPhone in 2007, Apple have continued to develop features that not only make their smartphones some of the best in the world, they have to make life easier for their users. However, one feature that’s been missing from iPhones is an effective speech-to-text utility. Speech-to-text has been around in various forms for many years, but its sporadic reliability has always prevented it from entering the mainstream. Apple’s innovative new ‘Assistant’ feature, rumoured to be included with the iPhone 5, could be the push that voice control needs.

Last year, Apple purchased virtual assistant app ‘Siri’, an application that used speech-to-text functionality to make reservations and appointments. For example, users could ‘talk to’ Siri, asking it about nearby restaurants, whether there are any films showing nearby or even what the weather is going to be like. With Assistant, Siri functionality will be integrated deeply into the iPhone, hopefully making voice commands invaluable and second nature to the user. It will certainly be considerably more advanced than the iPhone’s current Voice Command feature.

It is also thought that Apple will crowd source information in order to improve Assistant. Whenever a user makes a voice command, the data will be sent to Apple, gradually increasing their bank of phrases. This will hopefully, over time, iron out the problems that have previously plagued speech-to-text and voice control utilities.

Although most of these features are already available in the Siri app, it is currently only available in the US App Store. The launch of Assistant will be the first time UK users will get to experience the functionality. Although the feature is not currently on the beta version of iOS 5, it is widely thought that it will feature heavily on the iPhone 5. Find out more about what Assistant is capable of, as well as the latest news and mobile phone reviews, at the Dialaphone site.


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