Apple

Cupertino, CA

www.apple.com

Enterprise Sales (877) 412–7753

Device and equipment control: Automobile (AUTO)

Core technologies: Speech recognition (SR), Speech synthesis (TTS), Machine Learning (ML)

Scope: Full (with Siri)

System: Cloud-based (CLD)

Summary

– Apple’s Siri digital assistant in mobile phones and other Apple devices answers questions and performs the tasks associated with general digital assistants.

– A Shortcut app lets one create custom commands that execute a series of steps with one command.

– Siri can connect with company services, in effect, company digital assistants through Shortcuts, although Apple is more restrictive in which companies can connect than the other general digital assistants.

– Apple development tools include cloud-based speech recognition, supporting speech recognition in Apple platforms on live or prerecorded audio, providing alternative interpretations and confidence levels of the results.

– Mac OS has a text-to-speech option which will read selected text, but the technology does not appear to be separately available to developers.

– Apple CarPlay is positioned as a “safer way to use your iPhone while you drive,” integrating iPhone functions, including Siri, with automobile systems. Part of the system that a vehicle integrating CarPlay can integrate is the CarPlay Dashboard containing a display that helps with tunes, turns, and Siri suggestions, a Calendar app, and maps that reveal what’s around the vehicle.

– Apple provides machine learning technology that allows building machine learning on a Mac “with zero code.”

Delving Deeper

Siri can do the tasks associated with the general digital assistants. For example, Siri can make calls or send texts. It can announce your messages on AirPod earphones. It also offers proactive suggestions—like texting someone that you’re running late for a meeting. You can say things that use contact information and device features such as “Hey Siri, take a picture,” “Hey Siri, call Mom on speaker,” or “Show me photos taken in Connecticut from 2013.”A Shortcuts app lets a user create custom shortcuts with multiple steps. For example, one can build a “Surf Time” shortcut that grabs the surf report, gives an estimated arrival time to the beach, and launches your surf music playlist. Apple’s “Gallery” features a collection of useful shortcuts such as sharing how long it will take you to get home. Pre-developed Shortcuts such as “Log My Weight” can also be downloaded from the App Store.Connecting with outside companies or services through Apple’s digital assistant Siri is done through Shortcuts. For example, one can ask Spotify for particular songs through Siri. While other general assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant allow almost any company to connect through them, Apple has been more selective in allow third-party apps. One can, for example, access the food delivery app Caviar.

Apple offers development tools to use speech recognition in Apple operating systems. The speech recognition is cloud-based. There are some limitations on the amount of use that can cause interruptions based on the number of requests per day. A “speech framework” can recognize spoken words in recorded or live audio. A Mac’s dictation support, enabled by a keyboard option, uses speech recognition to translate audio content into text. This framework provides a similar behavior, except that a developer can use it without the presence of the keyboard, for example, to recognize verbal commands or handle text dictation in other parts of an app.Speech recognition in many languages is supported, but each SFSpeechRecognizer object operates on a single language. On-device speech recognition is available for some languages, but the framework also relies on Apple’s servers for speech recognition. Always assume that performing speech recognition requires a network connection.

Apple acquired Dublin-based Voysis in April 2020. Voysis focused on improving digital assistants inside online shopping apps, providing natural language tools to other companies to incorporate it into their own apps and voice assistants. The company web site is no longer available, suggesting Voysis services will no longer be available other than to Apple.