Siri Wants to Transcribe Your Voicemails

People like leaving voicemail but don't like listening to them, so Apple is working on a new feature that lets Siri become your own personal transcription service. Apple hopes to roll out what's been dubbed at iCloud Voicemail in 2016, which means come next year you won't have to listen to your friend's messages ever again.

iOS 10 may turn your voicemails into textiOS 10 may turn your voicemails into text

Insider sources speaking with Business Insider said Apple is already testing iCould Voicemail internally, and if it works as the company hopes, will launch next year most likely as a part of iOS 10.

Voicemail transcription isn't a new idea, and compared to Google, this is another example of Apple coming to the party late. Google Voice has offered voicemail transcription for years, sent as text messages or emails with text and audio together. Google's service works reasonably well; presumably Apple thinks it can do better.

Apple has been working to turn our iPhones and Siri into a virtual assistant in our pocket, and some of those efforts are visible in the beta version of iOS 9 as Proactive Assistant. The update, due out this fall, will better anticipate our activities so useful information such as driving directions and traffic alerts appear automatically.

If that sounds familiar, it likely means you already know about Google Now. Google's service is available for the iPhone, but really shines on Android where the system-level restrictions faced in iOS aren't in the way.

For Apple, that will be less of an issue since it controls iOS from the ground up. Apple can essentially out-Google Google with its own virtual assistant but with some restrictions because of its self imposed limitations on accessing our personal data.

Assuming Apple likes how its iCloud Voicemail tests pan out, we should see that next year. If so, the gap between Google Now and Proactive Assistant will narrow—and we'll be able to start reading our voice messages instead of listening to them.