Guess when it rains, it pours. Apart from the new iPod Nano patents, Apple has also filed for a new patent which would pave the way forward for the iPhone 5.
According to Patently Apple, future iPhones may end up with new way for users to communicate in various environments. The complete patent is fairly large, but the most important bits where both Text to Speech and Speech to Text would work are given below. These are various scenarios which Apple has devised
does it make pancakes as well?
One embodiment of the invention is directed to an iPhone which establishes an audio connection with a far-end user via a communication network. The communication device receives text input from a near-end user, and converts the text input into speech signals. The speech signals are transmitted to the far-end user using the established audio connection while muting audio input to its audio receiving component.
In one embodiment, the communication device detects the noise level at the near end. When the noise level is above a threshold, the communication device could automatically activate or prompt the near-end user to activate text-to-speech conversion at any point in a communication such as a phone call. Alternatively, the communication device may playback a pre-recorded message to inform the far-end user of the near-end user’s inability to speak due to the excessive noise at the near end.
In another embodiment, the near-end user can activate text-to-speech conversion whenever necessary, regardless of the detected noise level. The near-end user could enter a text message, which is converted into speech signals for transmission via the established audio connection to the far-end user.
In yet another embodiment, the communication device could also perform speech-to-text conversion to convert the far-end user’s speech into text for display on the communication device. This feature could be used when the far-end communication device cannot, or is not enabled to, send or receive text messages. The speech-to-text conversion and the text-to-speech conversion could be activated at the same time, or could be activated independent of each other. The far-end communication device communicates with the near-end communication device in audio signals, regardless of whether the speech-to-text conversion or the text-to-speech conversion is activated.
Apple is on a roll when it comes bringing in new features for its products, we hope that these features show up in the next iteration of the iPhone, so that we can stop people from talking loudly in our office.