Voice recognition on the iPhone 4S may give Apple an edge over rival phones, in a larger battle with Google over advertising and its iCloud music service.
The iPhone 4S uses “artificial intelligence” voice search, patented by Siri, a start-up Apple bought last year, to not only include traditional voice recognition, but software that showed intelligence-based features.
When asked “What’s the weather like today,” Siri gave a forecast, likely based on the phone’s location. Further, the app can read messages in the iPhone’s message queue, and can find specific locations for the user.
For example, when asked to find a Greek restaurant, the software responded “I’ve found five Greek restaurants, and I’ve sorted them by rating.”
The new voice recognition software uses natural language, is conversational, contextual, addresses the user personally, works with other built-in apps, and allows dictation.
Siri’s technology uses data stored on a phone, such as location, music and calendar information, as well as contacts, to help users send verbal requests, meaning iPhone users can use the feature to search for restaurants and other local hotspots.
The server may add to Apple’s advertising revenues, with local advertisers already being able to target their campaigns based on location, and since the software also gives business rankings, those ratings could be used as a marketing tool to attract business.
Siri also does dictation. A new microphone icon placed next to an on-screen keyboard allows users to speak into the phone and have their words instantly translated into text.
The new capability is expected to change how people send text messages, allowing completely hands-free sending and receiving, which may be an attractive option for consumers, considering the ongoing safety concerns about texting while driving.
In addition to Siri, the iPhone 4S includes a faster processor, an 8-megapixel camera and HDSPA Internet. It will come out on October 14, and will retail for $200 for the 16-gigabyte model; $300 for 32-gigabytes and $400 for 64-gigabytes.