iOS 5.0 Voice-to-Text Cometh??


As a general rule we don’t cover rumors here on the site. Every now and then however there is a bit of juicy information that is so deeply rooted in fact that taking the leap toward believing the rumor is pretty easy. This is one of those cases and, truth be told, I have a hard time seeing this NOT come to pass.

We’ve all been hearing about ongoing negotiations between Apple and Nuance with regard to incorporating Nuance’s voice-to-text technology deeply in the next version of iOS. We’ve even see screen shots of the keyboard trigger for it. Now word comes that the functionality has been activated and implemented in some of the current carrier testing versions of iOS 5.0 that is taking place. This means that iOS 5.0 is almost done and that this will be turned on when the new operating system arrives, at least for some carriers.

None of this is a surprise. I’ve been using iOS 5.0 Beta on a number of my devices and the current build is rock solid. (And the iCloud implementation for savings and sharing documents is… WOW!!) In addition, we know that Apple is looking to beef up its voice to text recognition and the only real player whose technology is worthy of Apple’s polish is… Nuance. It isn’t a great leap to see this coming into play soon.

One comment in a post I read referred to this voice-to-text system working in a similar manner to the one Google has implemented in Android. It may do so from a mechanical perspective but there is going to be one huge difference here – Nuance’s a voice to text recognition rocks while Google’s still leaves much to be desired. In fact, I have used Nuance’s T9 Trace keyboard on every Android device I have owned because Google’s V-to-T is so weak. As Thomas put it, my days trying to find an Android device I like may be officially over if this actually comes to pass. (And yes, I dictated this using Nuance is dictation app for the iPhone.)

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.

4 Comments on "iOS 5.0 Voice-to-Text Cometh??"

  1. I missed the news so thanks for pointing the post out Thomas. I keep hoping with each beta that this functionality will be there. If people take the time to learn how to speak into it properly it will transform how they use their devices. Apple and Nuance each pay so much attention to detail- together they will be pretty amazing.

  2. Thomas R. Hall | September 7, 2011 at 3:04 am |

    The FlexT9 keyboard on Android is awesome. Having the voice portion from Nuance / Dragon on iOS being pervasive like it is on Android will be amazing. I use it all the time on Android and look forward to this coming to iOS.

    And yes, Dan. Your Android days are numbered with this feature coming to iOS. 🙂

  3. Thomas R. Hall | September 7, 2011 at 3:14 am |

    Agreed. Now, if only Apple would allow the trace and other FlexT9 capabilities on iOS as well, I would be even more pleased! But the voice piece alone makes iOS 5 a required upgrade for me.

  4. Although something in the Nuance products recognition algorithms seems to have trouble recognizing certain kinds of words in my speech (making their products a bit of a challenge for me to use), they are still best of breed and I am really happy to know that this is the route Apple’s chosen to get voice integration deeper into their products.  And it seems that Nuance did a great job on the v->t for your post – only one error I can see (unless you edited the rest of the errors out!  🙂  )Very cool!

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