9to5Mac is claiming some giant news about the next iPhone. The specs aren't shocking: a generous 1 GB of RAM and the iPad 2's A5 processor. But what Apple's going to push hardest is Assistant: your iPhone talks to you.
From 9to5Mac's explanation based on "people familiar with the feature and SDK findings," Siri-powered Assistant is going to be spectacularly helpful:
One can say make appointment with Mark Gurman for 7:30 PM and Assistant will create the appointment in the user's calendar. On noting events, Assistant also allows users to set reminders for the iOS 5 Reminders application. For example, a user could say "remind me to buy milk when I arrive at the market." Another example would be integration with the iOS Maps application. A user could ask: "how do I get to Staples Center?" and Assistant will use the user's current location via GPS and provide directions.
Another interesting Assistant feature is the ability to create and send an SMS or iMessage with just your voice. For example, you can say "send a text to Mark saying I'll be running late to lunch!" – and it will send.
And that's just part of it. Once Assistant is triggered by holding down the Home Button for a couple of seconds, you'll be able to engage in a HAL 9000-style conversation with the phone itself. Ask it to send an email to your friend Adrian—it'll ask you which email address you want to use. Whenever you give it an order, Assistant will check with you to make sure it's doing the best job possible, like a little handheld secretary.
But it's not only about you and your iPhone chatting it up: 9to5Mac says Assistant will usher in a giant social feature with "Find My Friends," all executed with your voice. It's dead simple. "Where's Adrian?" Your phone will show you Adrian on the map, assuming Adrian's privacy settings allow it.
Finally, there's Wolfram Alpha baked into Assistant. Wolfram Alpha is the equivalent of an extremely nerdy, always-right friend who knows everything. And now Assistant is that genius friend. Ask your iPhone for the GDP of Libya: it'll tell you. Ask your iPhone how many feet from the Earth Jupiter is. It'll tell you. Wolfram Alpha support gives you an enormous trove of instant knowledge, invaluable for work, school, or just winning an argument with your friend.
Android's had pretty good integrated voice commands based on Google juices, but if Assistant lives up to these claims, it sounds like it'll blow it away. It's hard to imagine a software feature being the coolest thing about the iPhone 5—and again, these claims are all unconfirmed until Tim Cook shines down upon us—but Assistant has the potential to make the iPhone 5 incredible. If it's real. [9to5Mac]
You can keep up with Sam Biddle, the author of this post, on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.