Apple is testing a new service that uses Siri to transcribe voicemails, according to a report from Business Insider. The feature is supposedly part of a new service named iCloud Voicemail that allows users to set custom voicemail responses, letting certain callers know where they are and why they can't take their call. We already know that Apple is beefing up Siri's capabilities in iOS 9 to better compete with Cortana and Google Now, but it seems that this particular feature is far from ready, with Business Insider claiming that iCloud Voicemail isn't scheduled to launch until 2016.
Google Voice has offered a voicemail transcription service for years
Apple wouldn't be the first company to introduce such a service though, as Google has been offering voicemail transcriptions via Google Voice for years. However, despite the obvious benefits (leaving a voicemail is easy but listening to one is tedious), automatic transcriptions have yet to catch on, most likely because of accuracy problems. Google is working to improve this, and recently announced that its use of neural networks had cut transcription errors by 49 percent. Still, this presumably leaves a sizable amount of mistakes — a challenge that Apple will be grappling with to avoid a repeat of the infamous "Eat Up Martha" handwriting transcription problems that plagued its Newton PDAs.