updated 10:15 am EDT, Mon September 26, 2011
'Assistant' slated to be major marketing point
The new iPhone coming next month will have 1GB of RAM, a source familiar with its system-on-chip manufacturing reportedly tells 9to5Mac. The upgrade should finally bring iPhones up to par with higher-end Android smartphones, which are now frequently being equipped with 1GB. Apple is also said to be using a Qualcomm Gobi baseband chipset, allowing one device to connect to both GSM and CDMA networks, as has has been rumored.
The biggest feature of the next iPhone, however, is allegedly Assistant, the long-known voice recognition technology being built into iOS 5. Assistant is expected to exclusive to the next-gen iPhone, as it will require not only extra RAM but a dual-core A5 processor. The technology should allow people to hold down the home button for a few seconds and issue commands for many apps; saying "remind me to buy pickles at HEB" will add a note to Reminders, for example, while asking "how do I get to Casino el Camino" will open Maps. Users should also be able to exploit voice for tasks like text messaging or arranging meetings, and in some cases Assistant will speak back, such as when confirming the words in a text or checking which email address a meeting notification should be sent to. Exchanges should be displayed in a "conversation" view, and provide quick previews of relevant app data such as calendars or SMS threads.
One source claims that Assistant is so accurate at voice recognition that people won't need to speak slowly or especially clearly to have it work. It should moreover be able to answer some science and math questions through Wolfram Alpha integration, perform speech-to-text dictation, and locate people though the new Find My Friends function so long as a subject's privacy settings permit it. Apple is said to be working on adding song selection to music controls; Assistant's predecessor, Voice Control, is restricted to artists, albums and playlists.