Towards the end of last week, Apple ended up opening several job listings that relate to speech technology, Siri and language recognition, all of which suggest intensified work on natural input for future products. The positions include a platform development manager as well as a developer tools engineer. The platform development manager is set to “lead a team that builds the foundation for Siri,” while the developer tools engineer is set to work on internal tools for “collaborative design, development, testing and tracking.”

Alongside the platform development manager and the developer tools engineer, the company is also searching for two pattern recognition engineers, both of whom are required to have "exceptional experience developing modern handwriting or speech recognition solutions." The most significant openings that Apple put out are five openings for software engineers in the company’s Natural Languages Group. These openings are generally centered around text features such as auto-correction and parts-of-speech tagging but the NLG is also dedicated to areas such as input method conversion “and other solutions that incorporate natural language information.”

In some of the cases, applicants are required to be familiar with several languages. One of them is specifically oriented towards Chinese and asks for someone who can help improve the Chinese text input and language recognition in general. It should be noted that although Apple periodically hires people in these areas, it’s unusual for the company to post such a large number of related listings within the span of two days. That being said, voice technology appears to be increasingly important to Apple. Siri is present on every current iOS device and could eventually come to OS X. Since it lacks the screen space for features like a keyboard, the Apple Watch is becoming more dependent on voice with dictation is needed to send texts and Siri can simplify many actions.

Apple may also be interested in smoothing out the rough edges of iOS and OS X’s text input systems. As of right now, two common complaints are that Apple’s software can sometimes auto-correct to the wrong word, one that suggests words in the iOS 8 keyboard can be off the mark. Furthermore, Chinese characters are a long-running concern as well.

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