The voice-activated Assistant feature that Apple has been rumored to be building into iOS 5 has gotten a clever looking mockup courtesy of Macrumors and Jan-Michael Cart and it looks pretty great. This still image and the video are based on information that was given to the site by a source that it feels has accurate knowledge of the feature.
The Assistant function is activated by a long press on the home button. You can then give it voice commands with actions attached that can launch apps and fill in text. Much of this functionality is present in the Siri app, which Apple purchased earlier this year.
If this functionality is integrated at the system level, it would be much more powerful than any standalone app. This is the kind of functionality that we’ve been hearing is included in Assistant.
Much of this relies on the technology of speech recognition and processing company Nuance, who’s technology is rumored to be behind the Dictation feature of iOS 5, which we detailed here. This speech-to-text power can actually be experienced now by checking out the Nuance-driven Target app for iOS.
But Assistant takes this and combines it with system-wide access to apps and functions of iOS that makes its potential so much more exciting. This video was created by Jan Michael Cart, who made this lovely iMessage-on-Mac video. It was based on detailed descriptions of the way that Assistant will work.
The night before WWDC we heard from sources very close to the Nuance team involved in integration with iOS 5 and they were absolutely convinced that Apple was going to announce Nuance features built in to iOS during the keynote. That obviously did not happen.
We believe that one of the demo sections showing off features of iOS was swapped in at the last minute because the Nuance integration, most likely including this Assistant feature, was deemed not ready for public reveal, for whatever reason.
Assistant is quickly becoming one of my most anticipated ‘rumored’ features of iOS 5 and I do hope that the bits and pieces that I have seen do coalesce in time to make the final release of iOS 5.