Siri has gained tons of notoriety, and yet people still confuse it for voice recognition. The Siri aspect is the personal assistant functionality, while Nuance works in the backend to provide the actual voice recognition to translate your words to be understood digitally. Apple works with Nuance to provide the recognition for Siri as well as Dictation on iPhone, iPad, and now Mac. Nuance has their own software, and connections with other companies, and is now expanding their voice recognition system with third party APIs.
Their main API is called Nina, and actually acts like a Siri style virtual assistant allowing you to ask various queries to get results and perform tasks. Nina, is a bit similar to the functionality seen in Nuance’s Dragon Go app. Now, third party developers will be able to use the system directly in their apps. Nina will be able to offer multiple voices, and focuses on natural language navigation and conversation. More of your App Store apps may have the functionality going forward, but it will be different across apps, as compared to the deep iOS integration of Siri.
Nina has plenty of potential, though it reminds us how much we want Apple to provide Siri APIs to third party developers. Doing so, would open a whole can of worms when it comes to assigning properties to making notes, reminders, meetings, and more, and that may be the reason why Apple didn’t add Siri APIs as WWDC. The Nina SDK is available now, and the USAA app will be the first to use it.