In an iOS update that may well be timed to correspond to the launch of the next iPhone, it looks like new voice features are on the way. Apple fan site and leaker of many iPhone news stories in the past 9to5mac.com has posted a screenshot that it reports is from a future version of iOS.
In the picture is an option for "Assistant," with an On/Off toggle selection. According to the website, this is a "voice assistant" feature that will allow users to navigate through their device using only their voice.
It's a move that seems to answer the question of when, rather than if, voice-controlled functionality would come to Apple's mobile operating system.
That's because back in April, Apple acquired a company called Siri, which specializes in voice recognition software designed specifically for going through computer menus.
According to 9to5mac, which reportedly also got a sneak peek at the code of the new firmware update, there are specific commands for voice controlled access of contact data, song lists, and iPhone location information.
There are all sorts of third-party voice recognition apps for both iPhone and Android, but when it comes to the firmware of the device itself, there is very little focus on controlling standard functions.
It looks as though this will be an update for existing iPhone users, but is likely to also be included as the standard, pre-loaded software for the iPhone 5 or whatever the next iPhone may be called (iPhone 4S, etc).