Tech Talk: Apple Buys Speech Recognition Company Novauris
This week, Microsoft officially unveiled Cortana, its Halo-themed personal digital assistant that’ll come built into the forthcoming rollout of Windows Phone 8.1. But there’d be no Cortana without Siri, Apple’s original take on an artificial intelligence helper who lives inside your smartphone. Not one to rest on its laurels, it seems that Apple isn’t taking Microsoft’s competition lightly.
Yesterday, TechCrunch reported that Apple has acquired an automatic Speech recognition company based in the UK called Novauris Technologies. The purchase actually happened last year, the post explains, and that the company known as Novauris is more or less gone, at least in terms of its name:
“The Novauris website doesn’t make any note of the Apple acquisition, but when we rang their U.K. offices, Novauris co-founder Hunt answered the phone, ‘Apple,’” the post explains. “He confirmed that he and the team now work for Apple, and that Novauris itself is no longer an active entity.”
The post also points out that Novauris grew out of the company that built the original Dragon Dictation software product, which, you might be interested to know, has a pretty powerful free app exclusive to iOS. Even though Apple hasn’t offered much in the way of an explanation for the acquisition, it stands to reason that more powerful voice recognition capabilities is certainly going to be a big part of the company’s strategy going forward.
It’s not hard to imagine why: Android offers users OK Google, which will soon appear on our wrists via Android Wear. And it’s conceivable that Cortana will get even more use as Microsoft moves towards unifying desktop and mobile platforms with its Threshold initiative. Apple led the way, so it needs to keep that lead strong.
Moreover, the iPhone 6 will be coming out this year. And the iWatch will show up sooner or later. Meanwhile, many expect a revamped Apple TV to be announced any day now—and Amazon has brought its own take on voice-search to the media streaming industry with its announcement this week of Fire TV. Apple wants to keep us talking, preferably to something with an “i” in front of it.