Patently Apple has uncovered a patent application which outlines a solution for two different scenarios in which it might be difficult to answer a phone. Their solutions would use text-to-speech and speech-to-text to solve the problem. These solutions tie neatly into recent reports that Apple is partnering, or at least licensing technology from Nuance. Here […]
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Apple Patent Shows Nuance’s Technology in Use on iPhone

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Patently Apple has uncovered a patent application which outlines a solution for two different scenarios in which it might be difficult to answer a phone. Their solutions would use text-to-speech and speech-to-text to solve the problem. These solutions tie neatly into recent reports that Apple is partnering, or at least licensing technology from Nuance.

Here are Apple’s two hypothetical situations proposed in the application. My apologies for quoting at length, but they set it up best:

Problem One: Communicating in Noisy Environments
A smartphone user may sometimes have to make or answer a phone call in a noisy environment. Noise could interfere with a phone conversation to a degree that the conversation is no longer intelligible to either conversing party. A user in the noisy environment may try to scream into the phone over the noise, but the screaming and the noise may render the voice signal unintelligible at the other end.
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Problem Two: Unable to Communicate During a Meeting
In another scenario, it may be inconvenient for a user to talk on a phone. For example, users may be in a meeting and don’t want to draw attention to themselves by speaking into the phone. The users may try to whisper into the phone, but the whispering may render the conversation unintelligible. The users may choose to send a text message to the other party, but the other party may be on a landline where texting is unavailable, or may not have a texting plan. It could be frustrating to conduct a telephone conversation when the environment is noisy or the circumstance is inappropriate for a user to speak.

This very well could make it’s way into the mythical iOS 5, which is expected to be shown in the light of day at Apple’s upcoming World Wide Developers Conference. Additionally, Nuance’s technology could be used to navigate the device, search and dictate emails. Regardless of it’s use, this sounds like a giant leap forward for accessibility for the impaired.

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