Hey, Apple! 1999 just called and it wants its voicemail avatar back

Wildfire-esque functionality to be added to Siri

Siri logo

Siri will soon answer your phone calls, adding a functionality that Orange killed in 2005 when it shut down the still-lamented Wildfire service.

It’s rumoured that Apple employees are testing a system which can transcribe voicemails. Believed to be called iCloud Voicemail, the service seems to be a mix of Wildfire and that other roaring success of half a decade ago, SpinVox.

It is believed that much like Wildfire, Siri will recognise callers by CLI and greet them with individualised messages, allowing the phone owner to specify what information (such as "Simon is on the loo at the moment") to give them.

Messages which are left will be transcribed, in much the same way as the services Vox Sciences, twillo, VoiceCloud, Jott, and PhoneTag do today.

If the idea of a voicemail personal assistant sounds familiar, it’s what was touted for Wildfire in 1999, which Orange bought for £95m, with the idea that she would read news to you too.

Despite angry user protests, particularly from the RNIB, Orange shut down Wildfire, promising that a new voice recognition service was coming soon. Co-founder and CTO of Wildfire, Rich Miner, later went on to co-found Android, before it was bought by Google.

Website Business Insider claims that the “new” Apple service will launch with iOS 10 in 2016. ®

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