Apple getting serious about voice recognition technology

Thu, Dec 30, 2010


Within 3 years, Apple has managed to release 4 separate iterations of the iPhone. While each upgrade may not have been earth shattering in and of itself, the difference between the iPhone 4 and even the iPhone 3G is astounding. There’s no question that Apple is continuously trying to push the limits and functionality of the iPhone even further and one area¬†where Apple appears keen on making serious investments in is voice recognition technology.

Back in April of this year, Apple purchased Siri, a company well regarded for their voice activated personal assistant app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and we might add, the recipient of the Most Innovative Web Technology award at the 2010 SXSW conference.

And lest you think that Siri is just your run-of-the-mill voice recognition app, think again. Illustrating the power of voice recognition, Siri’s technology would enable a user to say “Tell my brother that I’ll be at the game in 25 minutes”. Following that, the app would search the user’s social networks, address book etc., find the person tagged “brother”, convert that voice message into a text and fire it off to the intended recipient.

And now comes word via 9to5Mac of new job listings from Apple which strongly indicate that Apple is looking to really beef up its voice recognition resources. There are 4 new job postings in total, and they are for a iOS Speech Application Engineer, two Speech Recognition Engineers, and a Senior Speech Research Scientist. Taken together, and coupled with Apple’s acquisition of Siri, Apple is getting dead serious about voice recognition.

The job description for the Speech Recognition Engineer reads,

Are you looking to contribute to a product that is redefining the smartphone? The iOS Application Frameworks team is looking for an exceptional Speech Engineer. You will work with our team on a wide variety of speech-related development activities. We need a team player – you will be working closely with engineers on the Application Frameworks team as well as other teams at Apple – and we need someone who is comfortable working in a fast paced environment with rapidly changing priorities.

And below is a video demo of Siri, and perhaps a glimpse into the future of iOS.



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