Photo: 9 To 5 Mac
Apple’s next iPhone will support new, expansive software features that turn the smartphone into a virtual personal assistant, Mark Gurman 9 to 5 Mac reports.We’ve heard of many of these features in dribs and drabs, but the 9 to 5 Mac post, which seems to come from a source who played with the new iPhone, lays it all out pretty clearly, and it sounds really exciting.
Apple will use voice-commands to make the phone even easier to use. However this feature will only work with the new iPhone because old versions of the phone will not be powerful enough to support it.
For example, one can say make appointment with Mark Gurman for 7:30 PM and Assistant will create the appointment in the user’s calendar. On noting events, Assistant also allows users to set reminders for the iOS 5 Reminders application. For example, a user could say “remind me to buy milk when I arrive at the market.” Another example would be integration with the iOS Maps application. A user could ask: “how do I get to Staples centre?” and Assistant will use the user’s current location via GPS and provide directions.
We would normally be hesitant to get too excited about voice-controlled features because they’re generally very clunky and crappy. However, before Apple started doing touchscreens, touchscreens were clunky and crappy. Hopefully it has figured out a way to make voice controls fluid and useful.
Another example of how this Assistant feature will work:
Another interesting Assistant feature is the ability to create and send an SMS or iMessage with just your voice. For example, you can say “send a text to Mark saying I’ll be running late to lunch!” – and it will send. This is a super compelling feature for people who cannot physically or safely take the time to type out a text message. Users can also choose to have Assistant read back unsent text messages to ensure the system interpreted the speech correctly. If the text is written correctly, the user simply says “yes;” if not the user says “no” and Assistant will ask the user to speak again.
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