Apple employees are reportedly testing a voicemail service that would make use of Siri, the virtual assistant built-in to iOS, to receive and transcribe a user’s voicemail messages. Users would receive the text of the voicemail, no longer needing to listen to voicemails. The new service is said to be readying for a 2016 launch.
Apple’s proposed solution is both incredibly simple and incredibly clever: People like to leave voicemails (it’s often quicker to orally deliver your information than it is to type it in a text message). But they don’t like to receive voicemails (it’s a lot quicker to read a text than it is to listen to the other person talking at you). The new product will also bridge a generation gap: Older users like voicemails. Young people do not.
Business Insider says it first heard news of the new voicemail service several weeks ago.
If a user has iCloud Voicemail activated, whenever they are unable to take a call, Siri will answer it instead of allowing it to go to standard voicemail. Siri will then transcribe incoming voicemails, much as she does for a user’s voice commands, and then send you a message with the transcribed text of the message the caller left.
Presumably, iCloud Voicemail will work the same way Siri does now, with the spoken words being sent to Apple’s servers, where they are converted to text.
The report says multiple Apple employees are testing the new voicemail system, and if it proves to be reliable enough, the company will launch it in 2016, likely as a part of the iOS 10 mobile operating system upgrade.