Apple Negotiating Deal With Nuance for Speech Recognition in iOS 5?


TechCrunch reports that Apple is rumored to be negotiating some sort of deal with Nuance Communications, the speech recognition company behind the Dragon NaturallySpeaking engine that powers a number of popular applications for Mac OS X, iOS, and other platforms.

Apple has been negotiating a deal with Nuance in recent months, we've heard from multiple sources. What does that mean? Well, it could mean an acquisition, but that is looking fairly unlikely at this point, we hear. More likely, it means a partnership that will be vital to both companies and could shape the future of iOS.

The report notes that Nuance's technology is already used to drive personal assistant software from Siri, a company purchased by Apple last year. Apple has also been said to be preparing to bring a substantial integration of Siri's artificial intelligence and voice control capabilities into iOS 5 presumably set for release later this year.

The other option is for Apple to build the technology themselves. And some recent job postings suggest they may be thinking about that. But to get to where Nuance is today it would take a long, long time. Perhaps more importantly, it's well known in the industry that Nuance holds key patents for their technology and is very aggressive in protecting them. Even Apple would have a hard time dancing around this if they did go it alone.

According to the new report, it is unlikely that Apple is seeking a direct acquisition of Nuance, given the company's $6 billion market capitalization and reports that the company is known for driving a hard bargain, including in negotiations with Apple to keep Siri's services alive after the acquisition, negotiations that have reportedly yet to lead to an agreement.

While an acquisition is still a possibility, a more likely scenario seems to be an expansive licensing deal that would provide Apple with the technology it needs at a substantially lower cost than an acquisition while also giving Apple time to build out its own in-house expertise to potentially replace Nuance at some point down the road.

Related Roundup: iPad
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
121 months ago

A bit late to the game, Apple?



I'd say so... we figured out a long time ago that (unless you're disabled of course) talking to our computers appeared cool in Star Trek, but not so cool in reality.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
121 months ago

I'd say so... we figured out a long time ago that (unless you're disabled of course) talking to our computers appeared cool in Star Trek, but not so cool in reality.

…and people figured out a long time ago that watching videos on the computer appeared cool in movies, but not so cool in reality.

Yet here we are a bunch of years later, Youtube this, stream that, etc. Ridiculous improvements in computer performance, available bandwidth and amount of computers networked changed the game completely.

I would argue that the current state of speech control is flawed not because talking to your computer or device is inherently bad, but because of two things relating to the implementation:

1. Speech recognition accuracy is less than perfect.
2. Computers/devices are too dumb to understand what you intend.

You can control the computer in Star Trek because it rather correctly hears what you say, and in general understands what you MEAN. The second part there is the absolutely hardest one to solve. Still, there both areas are continuously evolving and advancing.

Besides, not even Star Trek uses voice control as the only means of input, there are many many buttons available...
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
121 months ago

It just seems strange if your in public screaming at your phone.


Does it? I see/hear people yelling into their phones in public all the time. :mad:
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
121 months ago

Really we should keep YOU off the road because you are clearly the problem. It's piss poor drivers like yourself that shouldn't be on the road, and that cause all the accidents. Those of us intelligent lifeforms that can drive fine, and recognize when there is plenty of space between other cars on the road and your car to be able to spend two seconds to read a text message aren't the ones driving in accidents. I'm not saying there aren't people who don't know how to drive AND use their cell phones... There are clearly plenty. But just because you aren't able to multitask, doesn't mean some people can't.

Wow, utterly foolish. I hope the worst thing that ever happens to you is a close call, maybe you will learn something without hurting anyone.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
121 months ago

I disagree. I would love for Apple to integrate voice to text capabilities like Android has, where you can speak on any text input screen. This would be particularly useful while driving. I can look at my phone for 2 seconds to read a text message asking "When will you be home?" or something like that. It's a lot more effort to drive and type even a simple response like "15 mins" (not to mention, downright dangerous). If I could select a little button on the text message screen and say "15 minutes," and have it type it for me. That would definitely be useful for me. I currently use the Google app to do that if I want to google something quickly without typing it, but I would much prefer to use my default browser (iCab). We aren't talking about Star Trek here; just some functionality that would help speed things up a little bit.


I would say you have no right being behind the wheel. Forget about typing - "glancing at my phone for 2 seconds" and you have traveled 200 feet at 70 mph.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
121 months ago
Could the front camera be used to look at facial gestures / lip movements as a way to make the results more accurate?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Announces New 27-Inch iMac With 10th-Gen Processors, Up to 128GB RAM, 1080p Webcam, True Tone, and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 8:07 am PDT by
Apple today announced a new 27-inch iMac with faster 10th-generation Intel Core processor options, next-generation AMD graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, a higher-resolution 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, a T2 chip, higher fidelity speakers, studio-quality microphones, and more. A breakdown of the new 27-inch iMac's features and specs:10th...

Apple May Launch This Year's 'iPhone 12' Lineup in Two Stages, With 6.1-inch Models Debuting First

Monday August 3, 2020 3:14 am PDT by
Apple last week confirmed that its "‌iPhone‌ 12" launch will be delayed this year due to the ongoing global health crisis and restrictions on travel. Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later," suggesting a release sometime in October. We're expecting a total of four OLED iPhones in 5.4, 6.1, and...

Apple-Acquired Dark Sky Officially Shuts Down Android App

Saturday August 1, 2020 3:43 pm PDT by
Apple in March purchased weather app Dark Sky, and at that time, Dark Sky's developers said that the app's Android version would be discontinued on July 1, 2020. However, instead of shuttering the app on that date, the app's developers announced that the discontinuation would be delayed for another month. Now that it's August, Android users are no longer able to access the app, and...

Everything New in iOS 14 Beta 4: Apple TV Widget, Search Improvements, Exposure Notification API and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 11:14 am PDT by
Apple today released the fourth developer betas of iOS and iPadOS 14 for testing purposes, tweaking and refining some of the features and design changes included in the update. Changes get smaller and less notable as the beta testing period goes on, but there are still some noteworthy new features in the fourth beta, which we've highlighted below. - Apple TV widget - There's a new Apple TV...

Apple Explains Why You Might See 'Not Charging' When a Mac is Plugged In

Monday August 3, 2020 1:42 pm PDT by
If you have a Mac and have seen a "Not Charging" warning when plugging it in to power, Apple last week released a support document that explains why. Macs running macOS 10.15.5 or later have a Battery Health Management feature to preserve the life of the battery, and occasionally, the Battery Health Management option will cause the Mac to pause its charging for calibration purposes.Depending ...

Unreleased iPod Touch with Mac Pro Glossy Black Finish Shared Online

Sunday August 2, 2020 11:32 am PDT by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today posted images of what seems to be a first-generation iPod Touch prototype with a 2013 Mac Pro-style glossy black finish. The Twitter user claims that the iPod Touch prototype pictured has "the same coating as the 2013 Mac Pro." Had the finish been selected for the final product, it also would have been similar to the metallic glossy black finish that...

Phil Schiller Moving on to Become 'Apple Fellow,' Greg Joswiak Taking Over as Marketing SVP

Tuesday August 4, 2020 10:07 am PDT by
Apple's Phil Schiller is moving on to become an "Apple Fellow," Apple announced today, while Greg Joswiak will take over as Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. Schiller will continue to lead the App Store and Apple Events, but will no longer be in charge of marketing. Apple CEO Tim Cook said he is "thrilled" that Joswiak will be leading the marketing team, and that his...

Microsoft to Stop Supporting Office 2016 for Mac in October

Monday August 3, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Microsoft's Office 2016 for Mac is set to reach its end of support date on October 13, 2020, and after that date, connecting to Office 365 services using the Office 2016 for Mac software will no longer be supported. Microsoft shared the detail in a support document from July highlighting which versions of Office will be supported for connecting to Office 365 services in the future.Connecting ...

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

Apple Shares Requirements for Default Third-Party Browser and Email Apps With Developers

Monday August 3, 2020 4:28 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 plans to allow users to set a third-party app as the default email or browser app on an iPhone or iPad, replacing the current Apple-made default apps Safari and Mail. Apple hasn't provided many details on the new feature to users, but as noted by MacStories' Federico Vittici, Apple has shared documentation with developers who want their apps to have the option to be set as a...