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Apple's iOS 5 rumored to have 'deep' voice command integration


A new rumor claims Apple plans to vastly improve voice commands on devices like the iPhone and iPad with the anticipated release of iOS 5 later this year.

Apple's "deeply integrated" voice control feature in iOS 5 is expected to be demoed at this year's Worldwide Developer's Conference, according to TechCrunch. The voice control will reportedly be a combination of artificial intelligence and assistance technology, and Apple's team is said to be putting the "finishing touches" on elements that will be demonstrated at WWDC.

The new features are said to stem from technology and personnel Apple obtained through its acquisition of Siri in 2010. Siri is the developer of a personal assistant application for the iPhone, and it allows users to speak to the device in plain conversational English to find information and automatically accomplish tasks, like booking a reservation at a restaurant.

The advanced voice control technology owned by Apple and said to be coming in iOS 5 may even be opened up to developers for use in third-party applications. However, author MG Siegler cautioned that information "isn't quite as concrete."

The latest rumor corroborates a report filed earlier this year by The Wall Street Journal, which claimed that Apple is working on "voice navigation" features in iOS 5. In addition, The New York Times claimed in February that Apple hopes to improve operation of the iPhone through voice commands because some users dislike using a virtual keyboard.

Earlier this month, AppleInsider exclusively reported that Apple is looking to expand its iOS development team with voice control experts. Apple put out three new job listings seeking employees to fill the role of "iOS Speech Operations Engineer."

TechCrunch was first to report this past weekend that Apple may not release iOS 5 until this fall. In years past, major releases of Apple's mobile operating system have arrived alongside a new iPhone in June.

Though Siegler initially speculated that the iPhone 5 could be released as usual in June, simply running a version of iOS 4, numerous reports emerged on Monday that Apple is not expected to release new iPhone hardware at this year's WWDC. A report from overseas claims that Apple has not yet begun ordering components for its fifth-generation iPhone, and the device is not expected to contribute to the company's 2011 fiscal year, placing it on track for a late September or early October launch at the earliest.

Apple announced on Monday that WWDC will kick off on June 6 at San Francisco's Moscone West, where the company plans to "unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS." The annual developers conference sold out in a record 10 hours.