Apple has bought another company. It's a startup, actually. An artificial-intelligence startup that could drastically improve the way you use Siri on the iPhone and maybe even Apple's upcoming car.
The startup, called VocalIQ, is UK-based and specialises in developing technology that not only improves a computer's ability to understand human speech but also to “speak” or sound more naturally. According to VocalIQ's website, the company created a self-learning dialogue API after 10 years of natural language research.
Apple has issued a statement confirming the acquisition, according to Financial Times, though it refused to discuss the deal's purpose or plans. That said, it's easy to see how the acquisition could help Apple improve its virtual assistant, Siri, which is controlled by voice commands and famously talks back to users.
Financial Times also said Apple might use the technology for its upcoming car, because VocalIQ dabbles with in-car applications. The Wall Street Journal reported last year that VocalIQ was working with General Motors on a system that enabled drivers to control their cars’ navigation and entertainment systems via voice.
VocalIQ has said its deep-learning software and technology can help computers to better understand commands and their context based on interactions with humans. The company also criticised Siri in a past blog post, referring to the virtual assistant as a "toy" and ridiculing its inability to understand context.
Terms of the Apple and VocalIQ's deal weren’t disclosed.