Apple Building its Own Speech Recognition Team to Power Siri

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.
    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
  2. JackieTreehorn macrumors 6502


    May 22, 2005
  3. NY Guitarist macrumors 65816

    NY Guitarist

    Mar 21, 2011
    Better to bring it in-house than have to deal with Samsung.
  4. M!M!C macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2008
    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 :)
  5. HiRez macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    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.
  6. Anim macrumors 6502a


    Dec 16, 2011
    Macclesfield, UK
    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.
  7. AppleHater macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    I would take it as a good thing as the voice recognition part isn't as good at Google's from my experience.
  8. JGowan macrumors 68000


    Jan 29, 2003
    Mineola TX
    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.
  9. Mr. Gates macrumors 68020

    Mr. Gates

    Jun 17, 2009
    --Redmond --------- ----------------Washington---
    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 :rolleyes:
  10. AngerDanger macrumors 68030


    Dec 9, 2008
    Ah, cool, the one feature I've wanted most for Siri is the ability to… work.

    "Siri, pause the music"

  11. haruhiko macrumors 68040


    Sep 29, 2009
    Siri should be offline. It shouldn't rely on Nuance's servers.
  12. na1577 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 20, 2008
    Well given how successful their in-house advertising and maps teams have been, this should turn out great! :p
  13. motulist macrumors 68040


    Dec 2, 2003
    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.


    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?
  14. HiRez macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    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.
  15. mdridwan47 macrumors 6502


    Jan 20, 2014
    Google voice recognition runs circle around siri/nuance.
  16. macduke macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    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.
  17. NY Guitarist macrumors 65816

    NY Guitarist

    Mar 21, 2011
    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.
  18. goobot macrumors 603


    Jun 26, 2009
    long island NY
    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?
  19. NY Guitarist macrumors 65816

    NY Guitarist

    Mar 21, 2011
    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.
  20. randian macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2014
    I'd be surprised if Nuance's contract with Apple allows a buyer to cancel it.
  21. PocketSand11 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2014
    What if Apple just bought Nuance instead?


    It was never any good. I remember spending an hour trying to tell my iMac G5 running Panther to move my knight to C5.


    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.


    … 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 :rolleyes:


    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.
  22. lk400 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 26, 2012
    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.
  23. Hamble macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2013
    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.
  24. sputnikv macrumors 6502


    Oct 3, 2009
    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
  25. HMI macrumors 6502a


    May 23, 2012
    You think that is bad?

    Try saying the phrase, "Try me" quickly!

    Ow! My eyes! The horror! The horror!

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