Skip to main content

Apple patents speech-to-text, text-to-speech feature for iPhone

Apple-speech-to-text-patentA recently filed Apple patent application suggests that the company plans to bring speech-to-text and text-to-speech technology to the iPhone, reports Patently Apple. The new technology would reportedly make it easier to chat in a noisy location, or to send voice messages without uttering a peep.

As Patently Apple points out, the text-to-speech functionality will be particularly useful for anyone trying to have a conversation at, say, a concert or in a noisy restaurant. The patent shows that the “far-end user” — the person receiving the call — can either choose to have the feature turn on automatically anytime the phone’s microphone detects noise above a certain threshold when a call comes in, or turn on the feature manually for each call.

Once on, the user’s text messages would be converted in to voice for the other person, who may be on a landline or not have a text messaging plan. Also, the patent shows that users may be able to pre-record messages that can be played to the person on the other end of the line to tell them they can’t talk at that moment.

Another scenario is that the person receiving a call my turn on the speech-to-text functionality, which would turn the voice of a caller immediately into text, which would make it far easier to have conversations in quiet settings, like a meeting or a library.

The patent filing, published Thursday by the US Patent and Trademark office, follows rumors that Apple is in talks with Nuance Communications, maker of the popular Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech-to-text app, to develop speech recognition software for iOS.

Based on these two reports, it would seem as though Apple is headed full steam toward a future when we use our iPhones much differently than we have in the past. Which would make sense, since the iPhone itself sparked a whole new era for cell phones and helped get us to where we are today.

Editors' Recommendations

Topics
Andrew Couts
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Features Editor for Digital Trends, Andrew Couts covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on…
The iPhone 16 Pro Max could set a new record for the iPhone
iPhone 16 Pro Max dummy unit next to a iPhone 15 Pro Max.

The iPhone 16 Pro Max (left) and iPhone 15 Pro Max ZONEofTech

We have good news if you're hoping for a larger iPhone this fall. The iPhone 16 Pro Max will have a significantly bigger display than the iPhone 15 Pro Max — at least according to the latest leak.

Read more
You’ll soon be able to control your iPhone and iPad with your eyes
The iPad Air 4 in hand.

Apple has announced a bunch of new accessibility features that will arrive later this year for iPhone and iPad owners. Notable among them is the ability to interact with iOS and iPadOS interfaces using eye movement, which is something that's seen in a similar system on Mac hardware.

The company calls it Eye Tracking, and it's a system built on the Dwell Control foundations. So far, Dwell Control has been available as part of the Accessibility Keyboard on macOS, allowing users to execute mouse actions using eye and head gestures.

Read more
How to play YouTube in the background on iPhone and Android
YouTube Premium on iPhone.

You can play YouTube videos in the background on Android and iPhone devices very easily if you're a YouTube Premium subscriber. Just start playing a video, turn off the screen or navigate away and it'll continue playing, no trouble. But playing videos in the background is also doable even without a premium subscription. You can use picture in picture, or a specific browser.

This makes YouTube a great rival for some of the best podcast apps on iOS and on Android. Here's how to get YouTube playing in the background on your phone, whatever device you have.

Read more