With the release of of iPhone 5 just around the corner (if you believe all the rumors), folks are anxious to learn what new features will make it worth their money. With all that anticipation, the iPhone has got to bring something to the table to differentiate itself from the previous models of the phone - right?
This latest rumor suggests that the iPhone 5 will be launching with a pretty substantial new feature: Assistant. Assistant is apparently the evolution of the voice control system that Apple debuted on the 3G. According to the descriptions of Assistant, it really would be a game-changer for Apple.
9to5 Mac posted an article today that is basically a detailed spec report on the upcoming iPhone - based on what they know so far from sources.
Most of the specs the they discuss are expected specs that people have been talking about for a while - like the dual-core A5 processor and the 8 megapixel camera.
But the details regarding the new Assistant feature are new. First off, the iPhone 5 will reportedly come with 1 GB of RAM, which it will need in order to run the Assistant. Because of that, Assistant will not be able to run on the IPhone 4 or 3GS.
Assistant is basically the new way in which you will interact with your iPhone - and it is all based on voice -
Assistant taps into many aspects of the iPhone, according to people familiar with the feature and SDK findings. For example, one can say make appointment with Mark Gurman for 7:30 PM and Assistant will create the appointment in the user’s calendar. On noting events, Assistant also allows users to set reminders for the iOS 5 Reminders application. For example, a user could say “remind me to buy milk when I arrive at the market.” Another example would be integration with the iOS Maps application. A user could ask: “how do I get to Staples Center?” and Assistant will use the user’s current location via GPS and provide directions.
So assistant will allow you to run your calendar and reminders by voice, as well as navigation. But that's not all. It will also power your text messaging. According to the sources, you will be able to ask your iPhone to text your friend and tell them you'll be running late. It will even repeat back the text that it generated in order for you to confirm its accuracy. With this, texting while driving will become a little easier (and more legal, at that).
Also, your iPhone will apparently talk to you. That's right - robot conversation style. Basically, as you talk to the Assistant, it will ask you questions in order to gain more information about the task it needs to perform. For instance, if you asked your iPhone to set up a meeting with a client, it might ask you which email to use to notify them - personal or private.
My first thought (and your first thought, I assume) is that it's probably clunky, like all other voice control. Apparently, the "speech interpretation is so accurate that users don't even have to speak very clearly or in a slow and robotic tone." If that's the case, then Assistant could be truly amazing.
iOS 5 on the iPhone 5 will also sport Wolfram Alpha integration through Assistant. If you don't know, that's an online knowledge engine. I'm sure you've already deduced that that means you would be able to ask your iPhone general knowledge questions like "What's the capital of Tunisia?" or "What's 144 divided by 37?"
All of this info seems pretty specific, almost like 9to5 Mac's sources have already had a hands-on. If Assistant launches on the iPhone 5 and resembles this, it could be an enormous hit.
What do you think of the voice control possibilities? Let us know in the comments.