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August 27, 2009

Apple working on full-blown speech-to-text for iPhone?

Here's some news: According to a patent filing made available today online, Apple Inc. lays out the way it intends to accomplish speech-to-text for mobile phones, MP3 players (i.e. its iPods) and other PDA devices.

The patent application appears to lay out the method in which Apple is going to implement speech-to-text in its iPhone. The newest 3G S version of the iPhone already has some voice control features, for controlling music and dialing phone contacts. One of the diagrams included in the patent filing gives an example of using the method to create an email.


From the filing:

The speech recognition module can analyze the speech data to derive text data, the text data comprising sequence information associated with each of a plurality of words associated with the speech data. The text composition module can receive the text data and combine the text data with the non-speech data based upon the sequence information. The text composition module can thereby produce combined text data derived from the text data and the non-speech data. The interface can transmit the combined text data to the mobile device for presentation to a user of the mobile device.
It's worth noting that "non-speech data" will include "typeface data, symbols or punctuation" -- meaning you'll be able to control such inputs with your voice. Interesting stuff.

You'll also be able to record speech for later "subsequent processing" into text. And, you'll be able to tag and time-stamp your speech entries. Doubly interesting, no?

So, what it seems Apple is doing is building a fully capable audio-editting interface for speech-to-text. We knew it was coming, no? Thoughts?

This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 11:29 AM | | Comments (4)


So designers will be able to call out typographical specs!! And writers will be virtually "phoning it in".

Great going Apple!

This will be great! I've been waiting for it. I like the fact that the Google application has voice recognition and wondered why this could not be used on other aspects of the phone, especially text messaging.

Full credit to Gus G. Sentementes for finding this patent application so quickly, but according to this application the iPhone doesn't do anything clever here. At paragraph 26 the application talks about the iPhone doing all the work internally, then it instantly switches to talk about the iPhone being in communication with a "speech to text composition server" that does all the hard work. The rest of the patent then just goes on to explain the interface between the iPhone and the "speech to text composition server" and say nothing about how this "speech to text composition server" works. This is hardly earth shattering stuff you know.

It's been a while since the world has been as excited about a Nokia product as they are about the N900. The fact that it runs on the Maemo 5 OS instead of Nokia's old (lackluster) standby, Symbian, is reason enough alone to be giddy. We know this phone will be hitting the T-Mobile network this October and, if Boy Genius is correct, it'll be hitting the AT&T and Rogers wireless networks in fairly short order. Visit for more details.

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About Gus G. Sentementes
Gus G. Sentementes (@gussent on Twitter) has been writing for The Baltimore Sun since 2000. He's covered real estate, business, prisons, and suburban and Baltimore City crime and cops. He was one of the first reporters at The Sun to use multimedia tools and Web applications -- a video camera, an iPhone -- to cover breaking news. He hopes to cover Maryland geeks and the gadgets and Web sites they build, and learn -- and share -- something new every day.

Gus has a wife, a young daughter and two feuding cats. They live in Northeast Baltimore.
This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:

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