Nuance + Lala + MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

Nuance + Lala + MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

Summary: Apple's rumored speech recognition, music streaming, subscription and locker services could allow it to dominate cloud-base media services. But it's going to have to move quickly.

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TOPICS: Google
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Google, schmoogle.

Yesterday I wrote about how speech recognition is the iOS achilles heel, but I was encourage by rumors that Apple's been in talks to partner with (or hopefully purchase) Nuance Communications Inc. (NUAN).

Today comes word that Apple is already using Nuance technology in its massive new data center (a.k.a. iCloud) in Maiden, North Carolina -- ahead of its official opening. All signs indicate that Nuance's powerful speech recognition engine will be used extensively in iOS 5 which is expected to be demonstrated at WWDC 11 next month.

Apple's acquisition of Lala.com in 2009 brought cloud-music expertise in-house, but it's been two years without an announcement. Music subscriptions have also one of Apple's most highly rumored R&D projects and would obviously need copious amounts of cloud storage too, especially in a "locker" configuration like Amazon Cloud Drive.

Add a refreshed MobileMe (think Dropbox killer) to the mix and Apple would have a potent cloud based offering to compete with the likes of Google and Amazon. But with Amazon's music service is already up and running and Google's expected to launch today, Apple doesn't have the luxury of time. It needs to use its WWDC conference next month as a vehicle to launch iCloud or risk falling further behind the leaders of the pack.

Do you think that Apple will finally announce its new cloud-based services (speech, music, locker) at WWDC in June? Will it surpass the likes of Amazon and Google when it does?

Topic: Google

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17 comments
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  • RE: Nuance Lala MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

    Music subscriptions are great; i've enjoyed it on my Zune for several years now.
    roteague
    • RE: Nuance Lala MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

      @roteague You and who else?
      jgpmolloy
      • RE: Nuance Lala MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

        @john@... bwa ha ha ha. Seriously though, what's a Zune?
        boone51
    • RE: Nuance Lala MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

      @roteague Couldn't you afford an iPod?
      mattmuir
  • RE: Nuance Lala MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

    Pandora on my iPhone makes music subscriptions obsolete. It introduces me to new music all for the cost of listening to occasional ads. When I want something, I buy it. Which, for me, costs less than a subscription. Pandora is the most entertaining app on my phone.
    PFFXV
    • You beat me to it

      @PFFXV
      I absolutely love my Pandora account. So much so, in fact that I am considering subscribing to the paid version just to open up more streaming time.

      I am a long time (26+/- years) Mac user. I got my first iPod about 6 months after they came on the market. I was working for Apple when the iPhone came out and I loved it but finally went with Sprint for a *much* better data plan. Now I listen to Pandora on my Android phone, and when I hear something I want to buy I do that through Amazon, which then auto-loads the content into my Cloud Drive. DropBox gives me my files everywhere and gmail has 95% displaced my mobileme email, again because it is so ubiquitous. If Apple's cloud services don't become much better *and* much cheaper, I am done at the end of this subscription period. It is no longer worth $8.25/month for an email address that collects spam and web space that I don't use.
      use_what_works_4_U
  • RE: Nuance Lala MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

    This is classic Apple. Rather than simply doing a music subscription service, or a cloud locker, or voice recognition, Apple is looking to the larger problem - a user experience problem. And perhaps event the "Genius" feature thrown into this mix gives Apple the ability to outdo Pandora as well, by giving you the option to mix in "related" music with your existing content. Play it locally if you have it, stream from the cloud if you own it, and recommend tracks based on what you own, what you like, and who you follow (Ping?) for discovery.

    For the voice recognition, my guess is that they release a developer framework, call it something like "Core Voice" that is built using Nuance technologies. I don't think they need to purchase Nuance to do this.
    hyermish
  • RE: Nuance Lala MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

    voice input is needed, but don't forget that Nuance also owns Shapewriter, which is a better keyboard experience on the iPad
    Donald Brown
  • RE: Nuance Lala MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

    Unless they re-do the current MobileMe offerings as a free service, I'm just moving everything to Google. MobileMe is over-priced, esp. considering all the syncing issues :/

    But fix the syncing problems and compete with Google, and maybe I'll stay & Apple will have the opportunity to upsell me some sort of paid subscription service (e.g. music)
    dphuff
    • RE: Nuance Lala MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

      @dphuff What synching issues? I have 4 Macs, 3 iPhones & 1 iPod Touch, all synched back to the same service, & everything synchs perfectly. I'd suggest you got a setup issue - which I had with my Google account until recently.
      mattmuir
    • RE: Nuance Lala MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

      @dphuff There's no problem with me if Apple would grant your free service of MobileMe of course anyone likes for free services. Though, when you say that MobileMe is over-priced well I think it's not because the services they offered and the features of their products truly worth paying for. <a href="http://garlabs.org/">GAR Labs</a>
      jobertsonclark
  • RE: Nuance Lala MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

    Apple's key will always be the tight integration of the hardware with the software ... or the iCloud, in this case.

    Obviously, coming late to the party won't necessarily help, but the millions upon millions of iOS device users do make for a pretty decent starter market.

    But I agree that it has to be priced right. Apple has a bad habit of charging a lot for its online services -- Mac.com and MobileMe are both great examples of good services that never really lived up to their promise because they were simply too expensive ... especially when there are acceptable free alternatives.

    I'd bet Apple could cover the cost of the service by putting a few tasteful ads or sponsorships on the service instead of charging (or charging so much) for the right to make use of the iCloud. Think of the bands, movies, TV shows, and software that could all be advertised with nice, convenient links to their ITMS or App Store pages.

    What could possibly be better?
    jscott69
    • RE: Nuance Lala MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

      @jscott69 You're correct. I bet Apple have this thing worked out so well that it will be what everyone is talking about. They were not the first music player, nor the first phone, nor tablet, but made massive inroads. Watch this space.
      mattmuir
  • RE: Nuance Lala MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

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  • RE: Nuance Lala MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

    I think Google creates much powerful speech recognition engine than Apple...but it's only private opinion probably based on some dislikes of Apple gadgets :)
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  • RE: Nuance Lala MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

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    shantelle143
  • RE: Nuance Lala MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

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