Apple Acquires Speech Technology Startup VocalIQ

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Cupertino is set on improving its voice technology and virtual assistant, and is reportedly doing so by acquiring a UK-based startup that specializes in just that. Financial Times reports that Apple acquired VocalIQ, a company that builds virtual assistants using machine learning tech.

VocalIQ has been working on new spoken interfaces that could be used in a variety of applications — from the car to wearables to Internet-connected devices in the home.

It's not always clear how Apple uses the technology from companies that it purchases, but with this acquisition, it's likely Apple will use the API to improve its voice-based personal assistant, Siri. Financial Times also believes Apple could use the technology for its upcoming car project, as VocalIQ specialized in in-car applications among other things.

 Its technology could help Apple to improve Siri, its virtual assistant, as well as further the iPhone maker’s automotive ambitions.

This would improve on virtual assistants such as Siri, Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa, which rely on scripted interactions and can respond only to particular commands.

The company is led by chief executive Blaise Thomson, a South Africa-born mathematician, and chairman Steve Young, a professor of Information Engineering at Cambridge.