Late last week Forbes.com ran the headline “‘iPhone 5: Most Revolutionary Interface in History.'” What is expected to be so revolutionary about the new iPhone is an astonishingly simple and powerful voice control system. If it proves true, it will alter our use of phones in the car.
Forbes, 9to5Mac and a prominent Apple follower Jason Schwarz are claiming Apple’s newest phone–to be unveiled Tuesday–will let you ask it to “send John a text message and tell him to meet me at 5,” and the phone will send the text. So, safe texting in the car…check.
If you like, the phone will read back your text so you can double check it. You can then say “yes” or “no.” If no, the phone asks you to “speak again.”
Apple is also working to allow users to ask for a specific song to be played, said 9to5Mac. Currently Voice Control only allows albums, artists, and playlists to be chosen with your voice. If so, that’s another check for safe music control in the car.
If the rumors are true, the new feature called “Assistant” would “explode the possibility of new information that you can deliver through voice command to the car in a safe manner,” said Aamp of America CEO Ron Freeman. He added, “We have been working in this direction. It’s exciting to me because it expands the possibilities of things that can happen in the car in a safe, convenient way.”
“Assistant” might also lead to a new class of apps that could work safely in the car.
To activate Assistant, the user holds down the home button for a couple of seconds and then a microphone appears in part of the screen.
9to5Mac says you can tell Assistant to “remind me to buy milk when I arrive at the store,” and it will. You can tell it you have a meeting with Joe Smith and it will enter it in your calendar.
You can hold a conversation with the phone too. If you ask it to set up a meeting with Joe, it will ask you which email address to use.
Apple is also expected to provide a verbal friend finder. If an approved friend asks, “Where’s Joe,” the phone, enlisting its GPS capability, will tell him.
You can also ask your phone factual questions to receive answers such as how many feet in a mile.
The feature is the outcome of Apple’s purchase of Siri and its joint work with Nuance, and a new, powerful A5 chip with plenty of processing power.
Now we just need to wait til Tuesday, to see if Assistant is the real deal.