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Apple Patent Details Text-to-Speech and Speech-to-Text for iPhone Calls

An Apple patent application details how text-to-speech and speech-to-text would work on a future iPhone, according to Patently Apple.

Apple has been investigating the technology for use when making and receiving calls in a noisy area. It works like this… The iPhone would automatically detect and alert the user of a high noise level. It would then activate text-to-speech conversion and mute the microphone. The user could then enter text which would be automatically converted to speech when sent to the person on the other end of the call. When the noise level is reduced the text-to-speech would be deactivated, the microphone turned on, and the caller would be able to continue the conversation. Of course, the system works vice versa as well.

In yet another embodiment, the communication device could also perform speech-to-text conversion to convert the far-end user’s speech into text for display on the communication device. This feature could be used when the far-end communication device cannot, or is not enabled to, send or receive text messages. The speech-to-text conversion and the text-to-speech conversion could be activated at the same time, or could be activated independent of each other. The far-end communication device communicates with the near-end communication device in audio signals, regardless of whether the speech-to-text conversion or the text-to-speech conversion is activated.

Interestingly, the publication of this patent application comes just as rumors have been swirling about a partnership between Apple and Nuance. It’s possible that Nuance’s voice recognition technology would power these converters.

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