In the buildup to yesterday’s WWDC keynote, it was largely believed that voice recognition would play an integral part in iOS 5. Details of a deeply integrated voice recognition system were quite intriguing, and given Apple’s growing interest in the area, were believable as well. Moreover, Apple was rumored to have struck a deal with Nuance to power it all. That coupled some other Apple technology – such as its acquisition of Siri – had many expecting some bombshell voice recognition announcement.
But the keynote came and went and nary a word of voice recognition was mentioned.
So were we all duped by baseless rumors, or is something else going on here?
TechCrunch, who we must point out was the basis for many of these rumors in the first place, stands by its previous assertions and claims that voice recognition functionality will be a part of iOS 5 when it officially ships this Fall.
MG Siegler relays that at least three of TC’s original sources were “very surprised” that the keynote lacked any mention of voice recognition with one stating that he was expecting a slew of announcements centering on elaborate voice recognition functionality.
Yet another speculates that perhaps Apple wasn’t able to shore up a licensing deal with Nuance in time. “Nuance is known to be just as hard of a negotiator as Apple is,” the report states, “and if the rumored features are coming to iOS, they know that Apple absolutely needs them.
But none of this changes the fact that Nuance technology has already been found in Apple software (OS X Lion, to be exact). And multiple source claim Nuance software is already running at Apple’s new datacenter in North Carolina. Still, the finalized deals may simply not be in place just yet, so Apple couldn’t say anything on stage. If that’s true, the thought is that Nuance technology will still be a part of iOS 5, it would just be included closer to the actual launch in the fall.
And in keeping this nerd soap opera going, Nuance’s Chief Mobile Technology Architect Gunnar Evermann just so happened to be in the audience during Monday’s keynote. Is this a sign that the two companies are on the cusp of striking a deal, or is it possible that he may begin working for Apple soon – a rumbling Techcrunch claims to have heard floating around.
And the plot thickens even more:
Also interesting is that Roger Rosner, Apple’s VP of Productivity Applications who is believed to be in charge of the Siri/Nuance stuff at Apple, was on stage today. But instead of voice features, he demoed Documents in the Cloud and a few other new things. That may have been tweaked at the last second.
Lastly, and in a comment on TC, Robert Scoble writes that voice recognition is on the way but wasn’t mentioned yesterday because Apple wasn’t able to get it done in time. Scoble mentions that his source is the same one who told him about iOS 5’s deep Twitter integration. Further, Scoble notes that Apple needs something fun and exciting “to demo for us in August, no?” Hmm, could it be that Apple is planning to announce/showcase the iPhone 5 this August in time for a Fall release?