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May 10, 2011

Apple May Soon Be Promoting Voice Recognition Technology

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Apple (News - Alert) may be soon promoting voice recognition technology and actually be getting their users interested in the technology on Apple devices.

Voice recognition is not new but it may be showcased next month in a WWDC 2011 show, where the new version of Apple's iOS will be promoted.

In addition, Apple may announce in June that it will partner with Nuance (News - Alert), a voice recognition software company, according to TechCrunch.

Business Insider said that prior speculation that Apple would purchase Nuance is being discounted. The price is simply too high. Tech Crunch estimates it would cost about $10 billion for Apple to acquire the company outright.

If Apple is successful at promoting voice recognition technology for the iPhone (News - Alert) or iPad, there would likely be rival companies that would do the same, Business Insider reports.

Tech Crunch is also reporting this week Apple may already be using Nuance software and hardware in its new data center located in North Carolina.

In a related matter, Tech Crunch is reporting that Siri will be part of the new iOS 5 software. Siri is a mobile app that lets users undertake Web searches by voice command on a cellphone, TMCnet said. Siri is described as a “virtual personal assistant for the iPhone and the iPod Touch,” TMCnet adds. It also lets users say commands by using GPS and speech-recognition technology, according to TMCnet.

Siri needs Nuance to run. Apple bought Siri in April 2010.

So far, it is not clear whether developers at the WWDC show will gain access to the new voice recognition technology through iOS, or the technology may be just used by Apple’s own apps for a while, Tech Crunch said.

Nuance provides voice and language solutions for both business and consumers users. The company estimates millions of users and thousands of businesses use Nuance products daily, according to a company press release. In addition, use in imaging, healthcare and enterprise led to what the company has called a “strong” second fiscal quarter,” Tom Beaudoin, Nuance’s chief financial officer, said in the press release.

“It appears very likely at this point that a Nuance/Apple partnership is a big part of Apple’s cloud initiative,” TechCrunch predicts.

Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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