A patent filing shows Apple has come up with a solution for answering the iPhone in a crowded bar or in the middle of a meeting.
Patently Apple yesterday published Apple's multipart solution, which shows the iPhone using speech-to-text and text-to-speech technologies to help people who find themselves in these situations communicate more easily.
The patent calls for a microphone to monitor the ambient noise level in a room, while a noise meter would display it on the phone's screen. When the noise level hits a certain level, if the phone rings, the user can answer using several options, including text-to-speech, regular text, a pre-recorded message, or voicemail.
A built in text-to-speech converter would automatically translate the text from one phone into speech for the other. The recipient of the converted text could then speak in response and that response would be converted into text for the person on the other end of the line.
The patent is credited to Baptiste Paquier, Aram Lindahl, and Phillip Tamchina.
Apple is believed to be in the process of integrating enhanced voice-recognition software into a future version of iOS, courtesy of its purchase of software maker Siri.
More recently a report said that Apple is partnering with voice control software maker Nuance to provide voice software for iOS 5, expected to be introduced in a few weeks at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.