It seems that Apple is in a patent frenzy. The company has filed for a text-to-speech / speech-to-text converter patent. Other companies such as Nuance also offer text-to-speech converters which are web based. What is different about Apple is that the company has updated this idea by designing a converter that works on the phone’s logic board.
Another difference from the other Android text-to-speech converters is the synthesized voice transmission. iPhones will incorporate a microphone which can measure background noise levels and then assess whether the text-to-speech feature would be needed. If this is the case and the caller cannot hear the iDevice user, a prompt asks the user to activate the text-to-speech option. The user then types text messages which are transferred to the other device as speech.
This feature is extremely useful in noisy environments such as a concert or a bar when callers cannot hear each other. If the user cannot hear the caller, the patent has a solution for this situation too. The feature can also translate caller words into text, should the background noise impair hearing.
This patent is certainly interesting and useful but there is no information available regarding the timescale for implementing the technology.