The rumored speech-to-text functionality in the upcoming iOS 5.0 release has been substantiated with some leaked images...going a long way toward indicating that Assistant may be on-rack for iPhone 5.

Saturday's release of iOS 5.0 beta 5 to developers has been greeted by more than a few yawns ("some fixes, but no major new features" according to MacRumors) but there has been a buzz about what may be "underneath" the things detailed in the official release notes. The most compelling possibility? A speech-to-text feature that is sophisticated enough to add input to your iPhone by natural-speech instructions alone.

The source, according to 9to5Mac, was "reliable," and the pictures were more than convincing. Code referring to a microphone symbol "start" button had previously been found, which would trigger a microphone button on the screen to initiate the speech-to-text procedure. The pics confirmed the look and placement of the microphone next to the space bar of an on-screen keyboard, as well as the larger symbol overlay pic under the smaller text field.

Known tentatively as "Apple Assistant," the overall feature is said to be powered by a combination of device and cloud processing -- and will get better with every voice command.

The voice control is also said to be "hidden" -- possibly due to the unfinished status of the deal between Apple and Nuance, the company responsible for the core speech-to-text programming that Assistant utilizes. However, Apple has also purchased voice search developer Siri, the company responsible for the similar "Personal Assistant" demo...and Apple could be planning to make speech-to-text exclusive on the iPhone 5 only (similar to the Voice Control situation with the iPhone 3GS).

The announcements have garnered the expected reaction from Android fans -- namely, a certain amount of derision that the feature comes years after Voice Actions, a very similar functionality in devices powered by Google's Android operating system. The Apple-centric rebuttal is that the fewer exclusive features Android can boast, the easier it will be to maintain Apple's sales dominance.

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