Is Apple’s Giant Datacenter For Voice Control in iOS 5?

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Apple’s giant datacenter in North Carolina may bring advanced voice controls to the iPhone and iPad, reports Techcrunch.

The function of Apple’s massive datacenter — one of the biggest in the world — has been kept firmly under wraps. The North Carolina facility is like Area 51: everyone knows it exists, but few know its true purpose. Observers believe it is primarily for iTunes in the cloud, but Techcrunch suggests it is already set up to bring voice recognition to iOS 5.

According to Techcrunch reporter MG Siegler, Apple is already running advanced voice-recognition software from Nuance Communications – the company behind the Dragon Dictation applications for the iPhone and iPad — at the massive datacenter. The two companies will announce a deal at WWDC in early June.

And that likely means that iOS 5 will feature a plethora of advanced voice controls when it also is unveiled at the programmers’ conference.


iOS 5 is rumored to be based heavily on Siri, a voice-activated “personal assistant” iPhone app that Apple bought in 2010. Siri could answer all kinds of advanced queries, from directions to particular locations to what movies are playing at the local movie house.

The technology is believed to be deeply embedded in iOS 5, but to make it work well, Apple needs advanced voice-recognition technology. This is where Nuance comes in. Nuance holds most of the key patents to voice control software.

That means Apple is unable to build its voice-recognition software, and must strike a licensing or partnership deal with Nuance.