One of the most glaring omissions from Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) latest and greatest third-generation iPad was the lack of Siri, the company's voice-activated virtual assistant. Siri is also one of the main selling points of the iPhone 4S, class action lawsuits notwithstanding. In its stead, the new iPad merely got a Voice Dictation feature for transcription services, while missing out on the full-blown assistant features.
A recent round of rumors now suggests that Siri may finally be making its way to the iPad this fall with the release of iOS 6. One of the likely reasons that Siri wasn't initially includes was the lack of constant network connectivity, so Apple will need to make sure users are aware that Siri needs to phone home to Apple's data centers to function properly so as to avoid a confusing experience.
I was a bit surprised that Siri wasn't included at the new tablet's launch, but better late than never. At the All Things Digital D10 conference last week, CEO Tim Cook also said the company is planning on "doubling down" on Siri this year, subtly acknowledging that the assistant might not have lived up to user expectations thus far. There's also renewed talk that Apple may finally include developer APIs so that third-party apps could tap into Siri's functionality.
As the provider of the backend recognition, Nuance Communications (Nasdaq: NUAN ) will make the assistant possible. On the last conference call, Nuance CEO Paul Ricci said that mobile revenue growth should continue to accelerate and that it was able to book more sales in the quarter upon "the completion of some of the milestones on existing contracts."
Get ready, new iPad owners. It looks like you're in store to get Siri sooner rather than later, which is just one reason Apple remains a solid buy today.