HomeNewsApple iOS 5 to feature speech-to-text function

Apple iOS 5 to feature speech-to-text function

The latest beta build of iOS 5 seeded to developers has a speech to text transcriber. A similar feature already exists in Google Android devices and requires an active data connection to run.

Apple had released the fifth beta build of its iOS 5.0 software update for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices. Apple centric blog 9to5Mac was tipped with a screenshot and details about a new speech to text feature being tested on iOS 5.

This feature is said to be supported by Nuance, a USA-based software solutions provider. Nuance already offers Dragon Dictation 2.0 and Dragon Search apps for Apple iPhone.

Sunny Rao, managing director of Nuance India and South East Asia, told ‘The Mobile Indian’, “Nuance offers a number of Indian voices and related solutions for the text to speech functions. We have the Nuance Mobile Developer Program that offers a wider platform for mobile developers to use our platforms to develop applications. Only after the products are official will we be at liberty to talk more about them.”

Usually people love to use smartphones with full keyboards. However, not everyone would be comfortable using the onscreen keyboard on multi-touch devices. With the new iOS 5.0 beta 5, iOS platform developers noticed a mic icon next to the spacebar key on the onscreen keyboard. Using that mic icon, one can speak and the text box will come up with the spoken words transcribed in it.

The newly released Apple Mac OS X Lion operating system also supports Nuance powered speech synthesis features.

The speech to text feature also known as Speech Synthesis aids a user in several aspects, for instance, those with big fingers can use it for sending texts or drafting email.

We don’t know whether this Speech Synthesis feature will be native or will require a data connection or some other support. Also, there’s no clarity if this feature is limited just to text messages or will allow a user to navigate the device’s menus using speech. If enabled, Apple will certainly win brownie points over other operating systems.

Google already offers a speech-to-text engine in Android OS with multiple language support in it. The only requirement for using the speech to text feature in Android is an active data connection.

Apple is expected to release the iOS 5.0 update for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad some time later this month.

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