Techcrunch is reporting on information from “multiple sources” that Nuance is in talks with Apple. They are quick to say that while an acquisition is on the table, it doesn’t seem likely; instead a partnership between the two companies that “could shape the future of iOS” seems more likely at this point.
Nuance is a speech dictation engine, possibly the best on the market, and one of Apple’s other purchases relies on Nuance’s engine: Siri. Siri was released on the App Store in August of last year, and was quickly purchased by Apple: the technology was very impressive, as it had the ability to take commands (“I need a taxi”), interpret them, and then perform the necessary actions. It was correctly labeled as a “virtual personal assistant.” Behind all of the magic, though, was Nuance’s phenomenal dictation engine. The history between Apple and Nuance goes back to November of last year, when Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, wrongly stated that Apple had bought Nuance in a video clip.
It has been rumored that Siri’s technology will be a large portion of the new features in iOS5. This could be seen as a necessary legal step for Apple to implement those features into the new iOS.