A Look at Apple's Assistant Interface for the New iPhone

Apple has been rumored to be working on advanced speech recognition technology for some time.

After Apple's acquisition of Siri, TechCrunch reported in May that negotiations were ongoing with Nuance to integrate their speech recognition technology into iOS. Earlier this week, 9to5mac detailed much of what is expected to be the major new feature in the next generation iPhone to be release on October 4th. The story was met with some skepticism in our forums, but we were especially confident in the report as we had privately heard the exact same story from our sources.

The Siri/Nuance-based voice recognition Assistant will be the major new feature in the next generation iPhone and will be an iPhone 4S/5 exclusive feature. As detailed, the Assistant will allow users to speak to their iPhones in order to schedule appointments, send text messages, retrieve information and much more. Voice recognition happens on the fly and reportedly with great accuracy.

assistant
Assistant interface, artist rendition

We've created this artist rendition (above) of what the Assistant interface looks like based on sources with knowledge of the feature. After a long press on the home button, the screen fades and slides up, just like with the multitasking interface. Revealed is a silver icon with an animated orbiting purple flare which indicates a ready state. From what we've been told, this image is a close representation of the actual Assistant interface.

From there, the user may be taken to a conversation view that somewhat mimics Siri's original interface, but in Apple's own styling.

Based on this knowledge, we contracted Jan-Michael Cart to put together a video representation of the Assistant workflow. Cart had been responsible for a number of iOS concept videos in the past, but we wanted to mock up what the actual Assistant interface looked like. Due to the short turnaround, we know that not all elements in the video represent actual look/feel of the Assistant interface, but should show off the general workflow.


After receiving spoken commands, the Assistant shows you back the recognized text and then takes the next step. This could involve sending a text message (with confirmation) or pulling data from Wolfram Alpha. The feature is said to be one of the major differentiators for the next generation iPhone.

Apple is hosting a media event on October 4th, where they will introduce the next iPhone and these new features.

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Top Rated Comments

robbieduncan Avatar
165 months ago
Have they solved the problem of feeling like a complete idiot when you use these sort of interfaces?
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
theperipheral Avatar
165 months ago
Hopefully this will be for the iphone 4 as well.. Otherwise we will all have to continue texting while driving.

I don't see a problem with texting while driving. I do it almost every day, and I've never h
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arn Avatar
165 months ago
If you activate it by holding down the home button, how will you rearrange your apps?

by long pressing on the app icon as usual. :)

long press home button is already occupied by voice control.

arn
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DrJohnnyN Avatar
165 months ago
Pretty cool! Tuesday cannot come fast enough!!
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
euphlyusUNO Avatar
165 months ago
This is the fundamental difference between the Android and the Apple camps.

Androidies think and talk in terms of features, hardware specs

Applelites think in terms of experience


Case In Point:

For those comparing WP7 Tell Me and Google Voice Actions with Apple Assistant:

WP7 and Tell Me are not "Assistants". They perform actions based on voice inputs. WP7 implementation does simpler things (invoking apps, calling a cell phone number). Voice Action packs in more capability (though I haven't worked with either of those, this is based purely on watching videos)

However, if iOS Assistant is anything close to what's described in the Video and something akin the App Siri, then, the Assistant won't simply be "voice commands". You can have conversations, do more things than just call or send text. The assistant will also be more accurate by the virtue of understanding the context of a conversation (you'll understand this if you've carefully observed Siri mobile apps).

Just recognizing voice accurately is not enough. There has to be a simple and logical flow, like a conversation. I'm hoping Apple will nail that (as they've done sometimes before)
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gugy Avatar
165 months ago
this thing looks cool
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)