updated 01:15 am EDT, Sat May 7, 2011
Apple negotiates for Nuance voice command in iOS 5
Word of an Apple deal with Nuance may have gained momentum early Saturday as hints have emerged that a deal is underway. Rather than the previously dismissed buyout, Apple would forge an agreement to bring Nuance's voice recognition system into iOS, most likely iOS 5. While options were open, TechCrunch understood that the determination of Nuance chief Paul Ricci and a high valuation dependent on licenses were likely deterrents to buying Nuance outright.
The system would almost certainly be used to improve the range of commands and the accuracy of voice recognition in iOS 5. Nuance is well known for its Dragon Dictation system and powers the voice systems of many mobile apps, including Apple's recent acquisition Siri.
Apple was already known to be recruiting speech-focused developers, which most took to mean a self-developed voice system. A pact with Nuance could instead leave any new hires focused on integrating Nuance's systems into iOS rather than repeat much of the work and possibly lag behind Google, often considered a recent pioneer in mobile voice through Android's Voice Actions.
Pressure from Android might steer Ricci into making a compromise. Without control over voice dictation on one of the most important phone platforms, it may have to turn to iOS out of necessity to keep its technology relevant.
Neither company has commented on the assertions.