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Old Jul 1, 2014, 12:51 AM   #1
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Apple Building its Own Speech Recognition Team to Power Siri




Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal claimed that Nuance, which is responsible for the technology behind Apple's virtual assistant Siri, was in talks with Samsung Electronics about a possible acquisition. Now, a new report from Wired states that Apple is forming its own in-house speech recognition team to power the next-generation of Siri.
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"Apple is not hiring only in the managerial level, but hiring also people on the team-leading level and the researcher level," says Abdel-rahman Mohamed, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto, who was courted by Apple. "They're building a very strong team for speech recognition research."
Throughout the past few years, Apple has hired a number of high-level speech researchers in Nuance, including former vice president of research Larry Gillick. A number of those researchers are working at Apple's office in Boston, which was also rumored last year to be working on an in-house Siri solution that moves away from Nuance's technologies.

While the forthcoming version of Siri in iOS 8 still features the same technology provided by Nuance, it is possible that Apple could debut its own in-house voice recognition solution in a future version of iOS. Siri in iOS 8 will feature a number enhancements, including hands-free "Hey Siri" voice activation, music recognition by way of Shazam, streaming voice recognition, and more. Apple will launch iOS 8 this fall.

Article Link: Apple Building its Own Speech Recognition Team to Power Siri
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 12:53 AM   #2
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Wait...? They don't have that yet?
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 12:54 AM   #3
NY Guitarist
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Better to bring it in-house than have to deal with Samsung.
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 12:55 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by MacRumors View Post

it is possible that Apple could debut its own in-house voice recognition solution in a future version of iOS
The sooner the better. Siri really needs to become something far greater than what it is currently. As cool and great as it was originally. Only now, I expect more
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 12:55 AM   #5
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Ugh...seems like a bit of a late scramble, not good. Did Samsung pull the rug out from under them and they weren't ready for it? Not the type of thing you can throw together at the last minute, I hope this isn't going to be the Maps debacle all over again.
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 12:56 AM   #6
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I thought Siri was developed solely by Apple already, guess not. Although I find myself using Siri quite a lot recently, especially for quick metric conversions.
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 01:00 AM   #7
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I would take it as a good thing as the voice recognition part isn't as good at Google's from my experience.
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 01:01 AM   #8
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I can't really say much about Siri considering SPRINT truly sucks in my area and I typically can't get "her" to help me much. That said, when I'm in big cities, she understands everything I ask, dictates like a champ and gets me the info I need. I think the service has taken a bad rap actually, probably from a lot of people in spotty areas.
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 01:06 AM   #9
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Siri was an App on the App store for those of you who don't remember.

I still have it on my 4 , it no longer works , but I have it.

The only problem was that it was tied to Nuance. So this will make it all in-house.

But we all know how well that worked for Apple MAPS
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 01:11 AM   #10
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Ah, cool, the one feature I've wanted most for Siri is the ability to… work.

"Siri, pause the music"

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Old Jul 1, 2014, 01:13 AM   #11
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Siri should be offline. It shouldn't rely on Nuance's servers.
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 01:14 AM   #12
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Well given how successful their in-house advertising and maps teams have been, this should turn out great!
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 01:19 AM   #13
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I use siri all the time, and it's generally good, but with all the complex things she can do it's really mind-boggling about some of the things she *can't* do. Like for instance, she doesn't understand the command "skip album". Seriously? When I'm playing a playlist of several albums, if I say any permutation of the phrase "skip album" then she just replies "skipping" and then starts playing the next song, not next album. In some ways siri is incredibly smart, but for some other things she's incredibly stupid.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngerDanger View Post
Ah, cool, the one feature I've wanted most for Siri is the ability to… work.

"Siri, pause the music"

Image

Haha, I can one up you. Today after siri misheard one of commands, I replied "you suck", and she said searching the web for "you salk". Seriously?
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 01:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haruhiko View Post
Siri should be offline. It shouldn't rely on Nuance's servers.
I agree with that, if it's possible. Siri would be so much more useful if the feedback were immediate, the round-trip to the server makes it unbearable for me. Seems like with the processing power of the A7/A8 and relatively cheap RAM/flash storage, this should be doable. Apple can still upload usage statistics asynchronously and send improvements back down to devices, if they have the need to analyze the data.
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 01:21 AM   #15
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Google voice recognition runs circle around siri/nuance.
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 01:21 AM   #16
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Not sure why Apple doesn't buy them (using Samsung legal fees, haha) so Samsung can't have them. Surely there are a lot of patents that would be valuable to them for Siri. Just shut out Samsung entirely. Sometimes I worry about Apple's overconfidence, especially when it comes to services. Maps, iCloud, and next rolling their own speech recognition? One day it might be great but as a moderate Siri user I'm worried about having to "put up with it" for the next two or three years while they get it sorted out. I'm hoping this is more of a long-term goal for Apple but if Samsung scoops them up then this could get ugly. Does anyone know how much time remains on Nuance's contract with Apple? Maybe Apple thinks they can make it more efficient so they don't have to use cloud processing? Although I always figured the hardware would just catch up and make it possible.
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 01:22 AM   #17
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My productivity dramatically improves when I can dictate into my phone. What I would really like to see is the ability to record dictation into the Voice Memo app and have it transcribed after the fact.

I'm often not in places with wifi or cell data service and have tried to manually transcribe memo recordings but found the Voice Memo app not suitable.
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 01:22 AM   #18
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Why not just buy Nuance rather than build a team that would take years to get to the same level of quality we are at now?
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 01:26 AM   #19
NY Guitarist
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Also, I thought Apple has been involved in speech recognition for many years, long before Siri was introduced. I'm certain it was around years before OSX.
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 01:27 AM   #20
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I'd be surprised if Nuance's contract with Apple allows a buyer to cancel it.
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 01:35 AM   #21
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What if Apple just bought Nuance instead?

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Originally Posted by NY Guitarist View Post
Also, I thought Apple has been involved in speech recognition for many years, long before Siri was introduced. I'm certain it was around years before OSX.
It was never any good. I remember spending an hour trying to tell my iMac G5 running Panther to move my knight to C5.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdridwan47 View Post
Google voice recognition runs circle around siri/nuance.
It only seems better because Google Search automatically corrects what you say, since the Google voice recognition is mostly for online searches. Siri is meant for different things. I've tried telling the Google voice recognition to search for things that weren't commonly searched for, and it couldn't get what I said right. Also couldn't understand my friend's name.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngerDanger View Post
Ah, cool, the one feature I've wanted most for Siri is the ability to… work.

"Siri, pause the music"

Image
… If you have an Internet connection. If I'm driving through a dead zone, or more likely, freaking AT&T won't give me my cellular DHCP lease for some reason even though I have full bars, I can't pause my music

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGowan View Post
I can't really say much about Siri considering SPRINT truly sucks in my area and I typically can't get "her" to help me much. That said, when I'm in big cities, she understands everything I ask, dictates like a champ and gets me the info I need. I think the service has taken a bad rap actually, probably from a lot of people in spotty areas.
Yes. When everything is going right connection-wise, Siri's voice recognition is actually quite good. Better than Google's, in my experience. I use it all the time while driving because I don't want to look at my phone or even my car's music controls.
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 01:57 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by HiRez View Post
Ugh...seems like a bit of a late scramble, not good. Did Samsung pull the rug out from under them and they weren't ready for it? Not the type of thing you can throw together at the last minute, I hope this isn't going to be the Maps debacle all over again.
This is not a Samsung play, this is a coordinated long game from everyone's favourite corporate raider Carl Ichan. He bought up a stake in Nuance, he has family members on the board of Nuance, and you can bet that he had something to do with initiating the talks between Samsung and Nuance, as yet another angle of attack to strip money out of Apple (if they were to purchase Nuance to stop Samsung doing so). It would be so great If Apple instead dump Nuance and take their voice recognition in-house, and Nuance value plummets as a result.
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 02:13 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiRez View Post
Ugh...seems like a bit of a late scramble, not good. Did Samsung pull the rug out from under them and they weren't ready for it? Not the type of thing you can throw together at the last minute, I hope this isn't going to be the Maps debacle all over again.
This is not a late scramble - Apple have had a team in Boston working on voice recognition since at least July 2013 - it's just being reported again due to the Samsung / Nuance rumour.

I would imagine Apple started their Boston team in early 2013 at the latest - it's just taking them time to get up to speed and capability for launch (witness their first launch of Maps). It makes perfect sense for Apple to own their own technology for voice recognition, just like it did (and does) with Maps.

There's always the possibility that Nuance started the Samsung rumour themselves because they know that Apple are getting ready to drop them. Either way, I think we'll see Apple's own language technology launched by iOS 9 at the latest. Could even be a dark horse for iOS 8 later in the year.
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 02:23 AM   #24
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siri should be able to follow phone commands without having to push the queries to the cloud. regarding weather, time or calendar, it should know in advance this info so the requests yields instantaneous responses
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 02:26 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by AngerDanger View Post
Ah, cool, the one feature I've wanted most for Siri is the ability to… work.

"Siri, pause the music"

Image
You think that is bad?

Try saying the phrase, "Try me" quickly!

Ow! My eyes! The horror! The horror!
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