Nuance + Lala + MobileMe set stage for Apple cloud assault

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.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor

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?

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