Apple Testing Voice Control For iPhone 5

A new report suggests Apple will equip the iPhone 5 with voice control, giving the company a feature that could set it apart from the competition.

A new screenshot from an iPhone test unit posted by 9to5 Mac shows Apple experimenting with a new feature called “Assistant.” It’s not known exactly how Assistant will work, but it may suggest things like movie times, restaurant ideas and other data based on users’ verbal requests and their personal information.

Apple is reportedly refining the service to have it ready in time for the iPhone 5, but it’s unclear if the company will meet its self-imposed deadline.

Analysts began suspecting Apple’s intentions to integrate an advanced voice control system into its iPhone last year when the company purchased Siri, a start-up company that created voice-activated search applications.

While many smartphones and apps boast voice-related features, such as Voice Search on the Nexus S, the technology Siri developed appears to be ahead of current offerings. If Apple has improved on Siri’s technology even further in the past year, it may put the company in a league of its own when it comes to voice-controlled services on mobile devices.

When Apple introduced the first iPhone in 2007, the technology inside the device was beyond any of its competitors. Since then, other manufacturers caught up and, some argue, surpassed Apple as the world’s best smartphone makers. The iPhone 4 continues to sell well, but in the past six months, other companies have released several devices that expand beyond the iPhone’s features.

The rumours of the features in the iPhone 5 in September have been many, but most analysts believe it will contain just minor upgrades, pulling it up to the level of its competition. But, if Apple integrates an advanced voice control system into iOS 5 exclusively for iPhone 5, the company may once again be forcing others to play catch up.

This post originally appeared at Mobiledia.

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