Meet voice actress Susan Bennett, the original voice of Siri

By Ed Sutherland on Oct 4, 2013

The mystique of Siri, Apple’s “personal assistant” for iOS, has been the mysterious female voice. Able to speak directions to your favorite pizza parlor as well as carry on witty banter with celebrities, finding the voice behind your iPhone has become the holy grail for love-struck geeks everywhere. Now comes a middle-aged Atlanta mom who claims she’s the original voice behind Siri, providing a peak behind the world of talking machines.

Susan Bennett, a mom from Sandy Springs, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta, never wanted the spotlight. Her voice has been used to give life to machines ranging from the an ATM to a voice announcing directions inside the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport. Now she is speaking out about her role as the most famous unknown voice heard by millions of people… Read More

 

Apple’s ever-growing cash horde pegged at one-tenth of all US corporate dollars

By Ed Sutherland on Oct 2, 2013

Some people collects rocks, other people collect stamps. Apple, however, likes cash. Turns out the iPhone maker, all by itself, controls ten percent of all corporate cash in the United States.

Just how much is that? New data shows Apple’s bank account of $147 billion represents ten percent of the $1.48 trillion held by non-banking U.S. companies.

Here’s another factoid to make you even more uneasy about that measly savings account of yours: all together, Microsoft, Google, Cisco and Pfizer – not exactly nickel and dime operations – account for another fifteen percent of all U.S. corporate cash… Read More

 

Activist investor Carl Icahn could push Apple to buy Nuance

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 2, 2013

A lot of watchers hit the panic button after the billionaire investor Carl Icahn announced taking a “large position” in Apple (think north of $1 billion), which more often than not acts as a Wall Street code-word for impending board/CEO changes and hostile takeovers. But these people needn’t worry if an article by the New York Post is anything to go by.

As it turns out, Icahn may be simply looking to leverage his newly acquired influence to force Apple into buying Nuance Communications, whose technology powers Siri’s speech recognition. Icahn just recently has conveniently increased his stake in Nuance and now owns 16.4 percent of the company.

Coincidentally or not, the investor said that both Apple and Nuance in his view are currently undervalued… Read More

 

Apple may be working to supplant Siri’s Nuance speech recognition with in-house tech

By Ed Sutherland on Jul 26, 2013

Although Apple’s Siri uses Nuance’s speech recognition technology, the digital assistant may be getting a new voice soon. Although Nuance continues to power Siri’s speech recognition, a number of former Nuance employees reportedly are now part of Apple’s in-house efforts to develop a new speech recognition technology to power Siri, reducing its technological dependency on third-parties.

For instance, a number of former employees of VoiceSignal Technologies, a speech software firmed acquired by Nuance, now appear in leading roles developing Siri as an in-house application for Apple, according to a Friday report… Read More

 

CEO confirms Siri uses Nuance voice recognition tech

By Cody Lee on May 30, 2013

In the months leading up to 2011′s WWDC event, there were numerous reports that Apple would announce a major partnership with voice recognition giant Nuance. Obviously, the gossip never materialized, and Apple didn’t even end up unveiling Siri until that fall.

But despite the fact that no one has ever come out and said it, Nuance has long been given credit for powering Siri’s speech recognition capabilities. And today, the company’s CEO Paul Ricci confirmed the theory while speaking at AllThingsD’s D11 conference… Read More

 

Nuance launches Voice Ads platform, now ads can talk back to you

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 1, 2013

Nuance, which supplies Apple with the voice-recognition engine behind Siri, on Monday introduced a new voice-driven advertising platform. No, this isn’t one of the April Fools’ Day jokes hitting the web today. They are calling it Voice Ads and with a reason, too: the system gives advertisers an opportunity to literally create conversations with consumers through the power of voice recognition and interactivity.

We’re not sure how users will react to mobile ads that talk back to them, but we’ll admit that the addition of voice – when used the right way – could enhance mobile advertising by going beyond the limitations of mobile devices’ limited screen real estate… Read More

 

Apple defends Siri in Shanghai courtroom

By Ed Sutherland on Mar 27, 2013

China may soon become a top source of legal headaches, as well as market opportunities. Wednesday, the iPhone maker begins a defense of its Siri software against a Chinese company’s claim the voice-activated personal assistant violates its 2004 patent. Zhizhen Network Technology Co. filed its lawsuit against Apple last summer and today the two firms meet for a pre-trial hearing in a Shanghai court.

According to Zhizhen, its “Xiao i Robot” software was patented before Apple developed Siri in 2007 and unveiled as part of the iPhone 4S in 2011. The Shanghai-based firm is asking the court to halt Apple making and selling products using Siri, a voice-activated personal assistant feature available on newer iPhones and iPads… Read More

 

Nuance unveils Nina, the virtual assistant for iOS and Android apps

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 6, 2012

Nuance, the voice recognition engine that powers Siri, today announced a new kind of digital personal assistant aimed at mobile customer service apps. Called Nina, she “transforms iPhone and Android mobile apps into powerful engagement tools that allow customers to serve themselves”. Nina promises to cover everything from paying your bills to getting answers to your questions to changing or adding service on the fly.

Built on the same voice recognition engine from Nuance that Apple licensed for Siri, Nina can be added to iOS and Android apps via a software development kit (SDK) issued today as part of the announcement. What’s best, Nina doesn’t require that you tediously type in your password for various services and instead recognizes your voice to provide secure authentication… Read More

 

Nuance launches Dragon ID: phone unlock using your larynx

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 5, 2012

Nuance, the natural voice processing engine that powers voice recognition in Apple’s Siri digital assistant, recently announced the Drive! platform, basically the Siri for cars.

Today, the company announced another natural-language solution, one that lets you unlock your phone just by using your voice. Introducing Dragon ID, a brand new technology tapping your voiceprint to let the device know who you are by the sound of your voice.

Count us excited! We’re totally big on Nuance’s voice unlock possibly debuting on the next iPhone so we can all finally kiss cryptic passwords goodbye. Here’s a video of Nuance Dragon ID in action… Read More

 

Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s S-Voice go head to head (video)

By Christian Zibreg on May 25, 2012

The Verge was first out of the gate today with its exhaustive review of Samsung’s Galaxy S III handset. A section of the piece provides an interesting side-by-side comparison of two intelligent personal assistants, Siri on the iPhone 4S and Samsung’s darling dubbed S-Voice.

Both features work as advertised (well, most of the time), amuse with canned responses, delight with factual answers – all the while letting you converse with your handset using natural language rather than remember a bunch of hard-coded commands.

Siri and S-Voice also score similarly in handling common tasks such as pulling local weather, creating appointments and reminders and what not. And of course S-Voice is a blatant rip off of Siri’s user interface. Apple’s digital secretary appears to be snappier at running queries and S-Voice at times has a hard time understanding what you want.

And here’s a nice side-by-side comparison video laying it all out for you… Read More

 

Nuance launches ‘Siri for cars’

By Christian Zibreg on May 22, 2012

Nuance, which provides world-class voice recognition technology behind Apple’s Siri personal assistant, today announced its entrance into the fast-growing connected cars market.

Their new automotive platform combines Nuance’s Dragon software and natural language understanding technologies to allow drivers to dictate messages, search for content, control music playback, navigation and more.

Was this an iCar solution Steve Jobs was dreaming about in his final days? Read More

 

Nuance exec: Siri set “a new bar”, could get “more personalized”

By Christian Zibreg on May 16, 2012

Digital secretary Siri was, and still is, the headline feature of the iPhone 4S. It owes some of its allure to the vast processing power of Apple’s servers that run a remarkably sophisticated voice recognition software licensed from Nuance, a Burlington, Massachusetts-based provider of arguably the best voice technology money can buy.

According to Nuance’s marketing honcho, you can bet on Siri to improve over time. Upcoming developments in personal assistants will enable new stuff, such as more accurate voice recognition and personalization. So yeah, eventually you’ll be able to ask Siri “Is my favourite movie on tonight?” Read More

 

Nuance to Buy Natural Speech Competitor Vlingo to Take on Siri

By Oliver Haslam on Dec 20, 2011

It seems Apple’s introduction of Siri to the world of smartphones has had an unexpected affect – it has stopped the ongoing legal wrangle between two competing natural language software development companies. So much so that the pair are now in cahoots.

Both Nuance and Vlingo have been at each other’s throats over perceived patent infringement, but the pair are now best buds after Nuance announced that it was to buy Vlingo, the same firm it took to court not that long ago.

The reason for the sudden turnaround? The pair seem to think that they need to join forces against a common enemy, namely, Apple… Read More

 

Siri0us Removed From Cydia While Developer Finds Another Voice Recognition Service

By Alex Heath on Nov 29, 2011

Siri0us, the jailbreak tweak that allows iPhone 4, 3GS, and iPod touch owners to use Siri dictation, has been pulled from the Cydia store. We exclusively showed you Siri0us in action a couple of days ago, and many have started using the hack to use a Nuance-flavored version of Siri’s dictation feature on older iDevices.

After the Siri0us servers experienced several outages due to high traffic over the last 48 hours, the developer, Eric Day, has removed Siri0us from Cydia. Eric is looking for a different voice recognition service that he can use legally in his tweak. Read More

 

Why Apple Bought Siri

By Alex Heath on Oct 18, 2011

Jon Pielak is the former lead iPhone developer for Siri, the voice technology that Apple has implemented in the iPhone 4S. Pielak helped start the Siri project back in 2008.

Some may have forgotten that Siri actually started as a popular App Store app for the iPhone. In a recent blog post, Siri’s former lead developer talks about why Apple bought Siri, what makes Siri special, the what’s on the horizon for the most advanced consumer voice technology on earth… Read More

 

Dragon Go! Voice Dictation App Gets More Intelligent with Added Services

By Alex Heath on Sep 29, 2011

Nuance has updated its Dragon Go! app in the App Store with a host of new features to enhance the voice dictation experience. In case you missed our original review, Dragon Go! allows you to speak commands like “Find movie tickets for tonight” and get results.

Dragon Go! was already pretty smart, but this recent update just made it way smarter. Nuance has added support for services like Spotify, Netflix and Wolfram|Alpha… Read More

 

What Will be Different About the New iPhone, and Why You Will Want It

By Alex Heath on Sep 26, 2011

We know that there will be a new iPhone released next month. We know that Apple will probably hold its next announcement on October 4th, followed by availability the following week.

But what do we really know about the upcoming iPhone? 9to5Mac has published everything it has learned about the iPhone 5, including the one feature that will make you want to buy it… Read More

 

Did the Target App Just Leak the iOS 5 Speech-to-Text Dictation Feature?

By Cody Lee on Sep 22, 2011

At Apple’s WWDC event back in June, Scott Forstall promised us that we would see a public release of iOS 5 “this Fall.” And seeing as how Fall officially starts tomorrow, we can’t be too far away from an announcement.

While we’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect from the new software, there still are a couple of unknowns. For example, we know Apple is working on a secret voice-to-text feature, but we haven’t seen it in action. Enter the new Target app… Read More

 

Nuance’s Speech-to-Text Functionality Currently Being Tested in iOS 5

By Oliver Haslam on Sep 4, 2011

Remember that Nuance speech-to-text feature that everyone’s been so excited about ? A new photo sent to 9t05Mac by a claimed Apple employee appears to confirm its existence, and more importantly, that it’s being tested right now as part of iOS 5.

While not yet active in the betas of iOS 5 that developers are getting to test in the wild right now, it is becoming clear that those inside Apple, and possibly those close to the company, have already been testing the feature for a while… Read More

 

More Evidence of New Voice Command Feature Found in iOS 5

By Cody Lee on Aug 15, 2011

When it comes to iOS 5, Apple has some serious tricks up its sleeve. Though killer features like voice-to-text and Assistant weren’t mentioned in Apple’s WWDC keynote on the new firmware, they’re there.

From what we know so far, the voice-to-text implementation is pretty straightforward. It appears to be system-wide and powered by Nuance technology. The Assistant feature on the other hand, has been a bit of a mystery. Until now… Read More

 
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