Apple might be expanding the office it primarily uses to conduct research for the technology behind Siri, Scott Kirsner of BetaBoston reports.
Commercial realtors reportedly told Kirsner that Apple has leased more than half a floor at One Broadway at Kendall Square in Cambridge, Boston.
Kirsner notes that this is a significant expansion for Apple, which currently only has a small team that works on the building’s fifth floor.
Apple’s Cambridge-based team is highly focused on working on improving speech recognition for Siri. Team members in this office have previously worked for Nuance Communications, which partially powers the voice recognition tech behind Siri and the Dragon Assistant for computers.
Kirsner’s report comes about two months after Wired said that Apple is hiring its own team of speech recognition experts, which range from managerial to research and team-leading roles.
If this is true, it would make sense that Apple is leasing extra space in its Cambridge-based office for its new hires. Kirsner also notes that Apple is looking to hire new speech researchers and developers based in its Boston office, as seen in a recent post on Apple’s job board.
Now is better a time than ever for Apple to beef up its speech recognition team. Siri faces strong competition from both Google and Microsoft, which are both playing up voice recognition tech and virtual assistants in their new products.
Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant for Windows Phone devices was among the biggest features to come with its most recent software update, Windows Phone 8.1. The company is billing Cortana as a personal virtual assistant that learns more about you the more you use it.
Google Now works similarly. It remembers your preferences and shows you relevant information when you need it. Android Wear, Google’s new software platform for wearables, heavily relies on Google Now integration and voice commands.
The report comes just before Apple is set to unveil its next-generation iPhone and presumably its first wearable device. With new products and software updates coming, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Apple expand its research efforts for Siri.