Apple Siri API for more flexible voice control in pipeline

Dec 7, 2011
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Apple is readying a Siri API that could pave the way for integration with third-party apps and services, with new software engineer positions seeking help to "make the next big thing even bigger." Two new roles have been spotted by 9to5Mac, for an iOS software engineer and senior engineer, each confirming the work-in-progress API that will tie various aspects of the iPhone experience together as the virtual personal assistant prepares to step out of beta.

"You’ll need to work with them to enable access to their data and behaviors, and wire them up to your implementations. As a result, strong API design is needed to keep communications ideal" Apple iOS software engineer job listing

Apple took the unusual step of launching Siri in beta rather than as a fully polished product. As we discovered in our iPhone 4S review, the voice control system - which can recognize natural speech rather than just a selection of preconfigured phrases - is capable but still limited in many ways, including what services it can hook into.

For instance, although you can use Siri to dictate and send a new text message, you currently cannot use the assistant tech to open up apps loaded on your iPhone. This new API could well enable just that, as well as broaden the range of commands it can respond to.

"We are looking for an engineer to join the team that implements the UI for Siri. You will primarily be responsible for implementing the conversation view and its many  different actions. This includes defining a system that enables a dialog to appear intuitive, a task that involves many subtle UI behaviors in a dynamic, complex system. You will have several clients of your code, so the ability to formulate and support a clear API is needed" Apple iOS senior software engineer job listing

However, it's also possible that this could be the first step of Apple opening up Siri access to third-party developers, who could then use voice control in their own apps. Apple is also believed to be working on Siri integration into its other product lines, including a speech-powered TV, and could well bring the system over to its OS X desktop.


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