A recent report published by Xconomy (via 9to5Mac) is claiming that Apple’s newly hired talent is researching on Siri’s speech recognition capabilities at a secretive office in Boston near the MIT campus. The source notes that the Cupertino company has been maintaining this secretive office for the past few months.
“Apple has assembled a small team of notable names in speech technology and is looking to expand those efforts in the Boston area, industry sources tell Xconomy.
Based on their online job profiles, we can say that members of the Apple speech team here are working on Siri, the company’s voice-activated virtual assistant. Details beyond that are hard to come by, however, even for others in the field”.
Apple acquired Siri 3 years back, a startup initially believed to use Nuance in its speech technology, though Norman Winarsky, the co-founder of Siri, later revealed the technology isn’t dependent on Nuance. But the new report seems to indicate that Apple is actually “building a Nuance replacement” within the confines of this Boston office. Currently, Apple uses Nuance for speech recognition in Mac speech to text and text to speech.
“You’d have to imagine that sets off alarm bells at Nuance, which has traditionallysupplied the speech-recognition technology inside Siri. By opening its own speech-technology office here—stocked with former Nuance employees, no less—Apple could be signaling a move away from relying on Nuance for Siri’s guts”.
It is quite likely that Apple may be working to deeply integrate Nuance, rather than an in-house replacement.