Nuance Releases Siri-Like API for Third-Party Mobile Apps

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
46,727
8,945





Nuance, the company behind the speech recognition technology in the Siri and Dictation features on the iPhone, iPad and OS X, has released a new Siri-like API called Nina. Developers will be able to integrate Nina into their apps allowing the use of voice commands like Siri allows.

CNET has more information on the launch:
In order to differentiate their applications from others, developers will have the ability to customize their Nina integration with different voices. Nuance said today in a statement that it has inked a deal with USAA, the financial services provider for U.S. servicepeople, to integrate Nina into its mobile app. USAA plans to kick off with a pilot program in August and launch Nina to all members early next year.

Article Link: Nuance Releases Siri-Like API for Third-Party Mobile Apps
 

WhoDaKat

macrumors 6502
May 20, 2006
339
460
Why hasn't Apple bought this company yet? I'd think that it would be worth it to keep the speech recognition out of the competitors hands.
 

LastLine

macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2005
1,309
19
I can read the SDK is available....but where? Anyone able to spot that info?a
 

spillproof

macrumors 68020
Jun 4, 2009
2,028
2
USA
Siri's manly sister, Nina. Cool.

I wonder how well it compairs against, Siri, Android and Windows mobile speech software.
 

petsounds

macrumors 65816
Jun 30, 2007
1,483
496
This is what we iPhone developers have been clamoring for -- an API to integrate Siri into our apps. Apple really dropped the ball by not making sure this was in place for iOS6. I know Apple has a "ten-year plan" for Siri, but the market seems to be moving faster than they are. I think their biggest mistake was not buying Nuance in the first place. I really don't understand why they were satisfied with licensing it and thus allowed their competitors use the technology.
 

pensoftware

macrumors member
Nov 11, 2008
71
0
They say the SDK's available now, but it's nowhere to be found. In addition, they mention nothing about any pricing structure, so I think they're being sneaky and are going to slip in some steep chart that'll limit this to enterprise developers and not any low-budget indie developers. Too bad too because I was really hoping to use this.
 

freefall722

macrumors newbie
Nov 9, 2008
16
0
This is what we iPhone developers have been clamoring for -- an API to integrate Siri into our apps. Apple really dropped the ball by not making sure this was in place for iOS6. I know Apple has a "ten-year plan" for Siri, but the market seems to be moving faster than they are. I think their biggest mistake was not buying Nuance in the first place. I really don't understand why they were satisfied with licensing it and thus allowed their competitors use the technology.
I have a feeling this would be an anti-trust issue. There is almost no competition in this space - Nuance bought almost everyone else themselves - and a big company like Apple owning that would certainly catch somebodies attention.
 

LastName

macrumors member
Jan 8, 2010
69
57
Musk City Prime, Mars
I have a feeling this would be an anti-trust issue. There is almost no competition in this space - Nuance bought almost everyone else themselves - and a big company like Apple owning that would certainly catch somebodies attention.
I'm not sure it would be an issue. Android and Samsung have something Siri-like. Do they use Nuance or an in-house developer?
 
Last edited:

petsounds

macrumors 65816
Jun 30, 2007
1,483
496
I have a feeling this would be an anti-trust issue. There is almost no competition in this space - Nuance bought almost everyone else themselves - and a big company like Apple owning that would certainly catch somebodies attention.
Naw. Microsoft got into trouble because it had a monopoly on the computer market, and thus used this monopoly position to force things on customers. Apple holds neither a majority of the computer market or the mobile market.

Besides, I believe Android's speech recognition software was created internally (as an outgrowth of Google Voice Search), so there's no antitrust potential in buying Nuance.

As I said, I'm baffled at why Apple didn't use some of their deep cash reserve to snatch up Nuance.
 

JohnDoe98

macrumors 68020
May 1, 2009
2,488
99
Naw. Microsoft got into trouble because it had a monopoly on the computer market, and thus used this monopoly position to force things on customers. Apple holds neither a majority of the computer market or the mobile market.

Besides, I believe Android's speech recognition software was created internally (as an outgrowth of Google Voice Search), so there's no antitrust potential in buying Nuance.

As I said, I'm baffled at why Apple didn't use some of their deep cash reserve to snatch up Nuance.
Perhaps they are not for sale?
 

haravikk

macrumors 65816
May 1, 2005
1,490
19
I still don't understand what was wrong with the old speech recognition technologies of Mac OS, why couldn't these have been used? Obviously for mobile devices they're costly to run locally, so Apple could have still moved the actual processing into their own servers, but it just seems weird to rely on another company's product for all this. Plus with in-house technology Apple could have more control over the voice recognition capabilities, such as allowing developers to leverage it from day one.

It also would have allowed the dictation feature of Mountain Lion to be less crap, since Mountain Lion machines should be more than capable of handling all the processing locally. I mean my old G3 iMac could handle pretty good speech and voice recognition…
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,579
4,019
This is what we iPhone developers have been clamoring for -- an API to integrate Siri into our apps. Apple really dropped the ball by not making sure this was in place for iOS6. I know Apple has a "ten-year plan" for Siri, but the market seems to be moving faster than they are. I think their biggest mistake was not buying Nuance in the first place. I really don't understand why they were satisfied with licensing it and thus allowed their competitors use the technology.
I couldn't agree more.

My only question is... is it free to use in commercial apps?

(Also, did anyone else misread the name as "Ninja"? It took me until the end of Nuance's press release to realize the name was "Nina", just "Ninja", lol.)
 

D-Dave

macrumors 6502
Mar 16, 2010
332
59
Well, even tough Siri is a fairly new toy, nuance is in the business of voice recognition for ages and pretty much the unchallenged number 1.
As far as I can tell, the core business of nuance isn't even the consumer and mobile market (which includes all those car makers that use limited voice recognition) but in healthcare.
Adding to this that last time I checked year over year growth was about 30% (2011-2012, not sure which quarter).


My thoughts for NOT buying nuance:
a. pretty expensive;
b. bound to current licensing deals (so no shut out of competition);
c. core business not a field where apple plays any significant role;
d. (as stated above) anti-trust issues (I mean basicly half the electronics industry has licensing agreements with nuance...so one of those licensees buying them would yield at least some issues)
:)
 

ConCat

macrumors 6502a
I still don't understand what was wrong with the old speech recognition technologies of Mac OS, why couldn't these have been used? Obviously for mobile devices they're costly to run locally, so Apple could have still moved the actual processing into their own servers, but it just seems weird to rely on another company's product for all this. Plus with in-house technology Apple could have more control over the voice recognition capabilities, such as allowing developers to leverage it from day one.

It also would have allowed the dictation feature of Mountain Lion to be less crap, since Mountain Lion machines should be more than capable of handling all the processing locally. I mean my old G3 iMac could handle pretty good speech and voice recognition…
It really wasn't as good. Personally, it rarely ever understood me, and, unlike Siri and Dictation, it seemed to have no learning capability. It wasn't a complex technology. I hope they bring Siri to the Mac someday. It could be quite amazing.
 

nuckinfutz

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2002
5,504
314
Middle Earth
This is what we iPhone developers have been clamoring for -- an API to integrate Siri into our apps. Apple really dropped the ball by not making sure this was in place for iOS6. I know Apple has a "ten-year plan" for Siri, but the market seems to be moving faster than they are. I think their biggest mistake was not buying Nuance in the first place. I really don't understand why they were satisfied with licensing it and thus allowed their competitors use the technology.
You're not getting the power of Siri. If you integrate Nuance technology into your app it's going to be limited by the iOS Sandbox. You will be able to pull internet data and local data within that app but you will not be able to hook into the other features of iOS. Apple's got a tough job at integrating Siri well enough with protection so that 3rd parties can hop aboard with little trouble. I was hoping for an API in iOS 6 but it's likely going to be iOS 7.

Well, even tough Siri is a fairly new toy, nuance is in the business of voice recognition for ages and pretty much the unchallenged number 1.
As far as I can tell, the core business of nuance isn't even the consumer and mobile market (which includes all those car makers that use limited voice recognition) but in healthcare.
Adding to this that last time I checked year over year growth was about 30% (2011-2012, not sure which quarter).


My thoughts for NOT buying nuance:
a. pretty expensive;
b. bound to current licensing deals (so no shut out of competition);
c. core business not a field where apple plays any significant role;
d. (as stated above) anti-trust issues (I mean basicly half the electronics industry has licensing agreements with nuance...so one of those licensees buying them would yield at least some issues)
:)
Nuance has a megaton of voice patents. I say Apple acquires them and they run as a wholly owned subsidiary much like Filemaker.
 

paul4339

macrumors 65816
Sep 14, 2009
1,380
624
...
b. bound to current licensing deals (so no shut out of competition);
...
:)
I was thinking the same... Nuance probably has licenses to Apple's competitors, so no can shut anyone else out. The result (if true) is that there is no strategic advantage to buying the company for it's ip and/or patents. And as you mentioned, they are expensive (in comparison to what they earn today).

.
 

lixuelai

macrumors 6502a
Oct 29, 2008
806
59
Nuance is no where as important as people think it is. While it is true that Siri uses Nuance's voice recognition technology, the "magic" behind Siri is the algorithms that convert phrases to understandable search terms and responses. If Apple had any plans to buy Nuance they would have done it awhile ago, before Nuance like doubled in market cap (as a result of Siri). So while Nuance's technology is not a dime a dozen, it is not important enough to acquire it to prevent it from being used by competitors like Google (Google has in house voice recognition btw).
 
Last edited:

petsounds

macrumors 65816
Jun 30, 2007
1,483
496
You're not getting the power of Siri. If you integrate Nuance technology into your app it's going to be limited by the iOS Sandbox.
I'm aware Nina is not Siri. :rolleyes: I meant that Nina is the kind of API that developers have been waiting for in Siri. From the video, Nina actually looks kind of janky. I probably wouldn't use it, but I'm sure some developers will find value in it. My point was, Apple is moving too slowly.

Siri is already using external web services (Wolfram Alpha, NBA/MBL, et al); it's not a far stretch to open Siri up to any 3rd party by requiring a standard API Siri can ping. Either Apple is holding back in order to trickle out features for iOS (most likely), or they would rather just do content deals with big players.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,579
4,019
I can read the SDK is available....but where? Anyone able to spot that info?a
It doesn't appear to be available yet, you can sign up on their website to be told more later on.

Also, Nina is available only to developers working for larger companies... which is really depressing. I knew that this "golden era" of indie development was going to end within the decade, but I didn't realize it was going to go so fast... now I'm wondering if it'll still be realistic to be an indie developer in 2015. Oh well, the good news is I'm already hired so I don't need to be making it as an indie anymore. (Although recently I've been making more from my own apps than my paycheck... but I'm sure the boom in my personal sales is short lived and will die back down to the usual ~$100/week before long, whereas I'll only get pay raises at my job.)
 

illiniry

macrumors member
Mar 1, 2009
49
0
Chicago
It doesn't appear to be available yet, you can sign up on their website to be told more later on.

Also, Nina is available only to developers working for larger companies... which is really depressing. I knew that this "golden era" of indie development was going to end within the decade, but I didn't realize it was going to go so fast... now I'm wondering if it'll still be realistic to be an indie developer in 2015. Oh well, the good news is I'm already hired so I don't need to be making it as an indie anymore. (Although recently I've been making more from my own apps than my paycheck... but I'm sure the boom in my personal sales is short lived and will die back down to the usual ~$100/week before long, whereas I'll only get pay raises at my job.)
Personally, I think the indie developer golden era is just beginning. Companies don't yet understand how to integrate voice commands into their websites/mobile apps. More importantly, they don't realize the massive potential this has. Voice search will be huge in a few years. I guess Nuance is looking for developers that already work for large companies who want to buy Nina. But I would think there's plenty of opportunity for a freelance developer who understands Nina to pitch it to these companies. Also, it's inevitable that anyone will be able to create and sell any voice command app they want just like they can with regular apps.