As reported by the Business Insider, Apple is purportedly planning to launch a voice mail and transcription service that would turn its digital assistant Siri into a personalized answering machine for mobile users.
The iPhone maker is currently developing a voice mail service that will have Siri (which works on iPhone and iPad devices) answer incoming phone calls with a personal message if users are not available to respond to the call (or just do not feel like having a phone conversation). iCloud Voicemail, a new service by Apple, would transcribe a user’s voice mail into text so that it can be readily read at a later time.
This should be an interesting development for Apple’s digital assistant. Despite being a somewhat familiar name, Siri is definitely not the only digital assistant available for mobile users nowadays. Google Now is available in most mobile devices powered by the Android mobile operating system, and it even runs on iPhone and iPad devices. Then there is Cortana, Microsoft’s own take on the technology, which has now gone beyond Windows run smartphones and into tablets and even computers that run on the Windows 10 operating system (Microsoft is also launching a version of Cortana that will run on iOS before the end of the year). In order to keep an edge over these similar digital assistants, Siri will need to improve or even expand into new territories.
This is where the field of voice mail comes in. It might be a bit unexpected but it does make some sense. Innovation in voice mail has been slow in the past few years, and perhaps Apple (a prime example of an innovator) can do something about it. And what better way to do it than with a technology of its own that already exists and is already familiar with users?
How exactly does the setup work? First, Siri would answer all incoming calls, but not just autoreply with generic responses all the time. The iCloud Voicemail could share data with certain other people about where a user currently is, giving callers an idea of why the user can not take calls at the moment. As for the voice mails received, they would be transmitted to Apple servers, and then Siri would then transform them into text form and then forward it to the user’s iPhone (just like regular text messaging or email).
So when can mobile users expect this new service to come out? Apple is looking at launching it sometime next year.
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