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Hooks to speech recognition found in iOS 5

While Apple was busy extolling the virtues of notifications, iMessage and wireless sync at WWDC, hooks to speech technology were found lurking in iOS 5's "internal preferences."
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Written by Jason D. O'Grady on

While Apple announced 200 new features in iOS 5 there are a couple of glaring omissions, too. The one that sticks out in my mind is iOS' achilles heel: speech recognition.

Apple’s been in secret negotiations with Nuance Communications Inc. (NUAN) for some months now and I was hoping that speech recognition would arrive in iOS 5 at WWDC -- but it didn't. At least not officially, anyway.

While Apple was busy extolling the virtues of notifications, iMessage and wireless sync at WWDC, hooks to speech technology were found lurking in iOS 5's "internal preferences."

ChronicWire posted a screenshot (pictured) that shows references to "Nuance Dictation" and "Nuance Long Endpoint" apparently within iOS' Internal SpringBoard preferences.

If true, this would certainly be good news. It means that truly integrated speech recognition will be coming to iOS 5, hopefully sooner rather than later.

It remains to be seen how Apple would expose the speech UI, but another screenshot (below) that recently leaked (via 9-to-5 Mac) suggests that Apple will add a Mic button on the iOS space bar.

This would be similar to how Android handles speech input:

But why wasn't SR hyped in iOS 5? My guess is that the Nuance deal (whatever it is) is taking longer to negotiate that Apple expected. Nuance is known to be a tough negotiator and it wouldn't surprise me if it was asking a king's ransom for the IP and that Apple was trying to pay less.

For the time being you're going to have to use Google Search and Dragon Search apps if you want speech recognition in iOS 4.x but it looks like some form of speech recognition will make it into iOS 5 in the not-too-distant future -- hopefully sooner rather than later.

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