Siri is potentially going to get a lot stronger, as Apple has quietly acquired yet another speech recognition company — this time a well-known firm called Novauris. Founded in 2002 and spun out of the better-known Dragon Systems, Novauris is one of the early pioneers of modern voice recognition. Although Apple has made no official announcement of the purchase, TechCrunch has confirmed that the deal is done and was actually completed in 2013.
One of the biggest differentiators about Novauris in terms of the competitive landscape, is that they operated in both the embedded and server space, and they also owned the core engine. This of course would make them a valuable asset for Apple, which had tried to acquire Nuance, the technology that powers Apple’s Siri – a partnership that has long been known, but only officially confirmed last year.
The Novauris team has been at Apple now since last Fall, and is of course working to improve Siri's voice recognition platform. Apple currently still leans heavily on technology it licenses from Nuance to speech recognition and voices for the Siri interface on iOS, even though it bought the company Siri itself back in 2010.
It's no secret that Apple is working to separate itself from relying on other technologies for its leading hands-free interface, as there's even reportedly an entire team in Boston dedicated to beefing up Siri's technology back-end. We likely won't know what portion of new features can be attributed to the Novauris purchase, but an improved Siri is welcomed no matter the source.