Rumor: Voice controlled "Assistant" coming to iPhone 5/iOS 5

There have been rumors for quite a while that Apple has been trying to put in some kind of voice controlled-based software support in the next version of its iOS operating system. Now the 9to5Mac.com web site reports that Apple might be trying to get that kind of feature in the next version of its iPhone. The story says that the software will be based on technology from a company called Siri that Apple acquired back in 2010.

The story is based on info and screenshots from a unnamed source that has access to an Apple iPhone test unit. The feature is called "Assistant" and is designed to use a iPhone's voice to access local info that can then be used by the iPhone's software to handle tasks. The article gives an example of how this feature will work: "We can imagine a user asking their iPhone 'Assistant" to setup a movie with one of their friends. The user might say “setup movie with Mark” and based on Mark’s contact info and the user’s location data, will be able to offer tickets to a local theater and send Mark the information."

The article adds that with the permission of the iPhone's owner, it could sent data from the "Assistant" back to Apple so the company can take a look at it and use that info to update the "Assistant" with improvements and more features. It could even "speak" back to the iPhone user. The article adds that this feature could be an exclusive, at least for a while, for the iPhone 5 when it is released this fall. However, it also says that the "Assistant" feature may not be ready when the next iPhone launches.

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