A new feature from Apple is poised to change voicemail forever. According to a report from Business Insider, Apple is programming Siri to transcribe voicemail messages using a service called iCloud Voicemail, allowing users to read them instead of listening to them. The iCloud Voicemail service isn’t available to the public yet, but may be launched as part of iOS 10 in 2016.

The voicemail transcription feature would send the text of received voicemails to the user using the iCloud service. The service would also give callers prechosen messages on why the phone owner is unavailable. The report says that Siri will gain the ability to answer calls and “relay information about where you are and why you can’t pick up the phone to certain people.” The feature is currently being tested by Apple developers.

Many people use voicemail but are unhappy with the effort that it takes to get their messages. Unclear voices and garbled words make it difficult for people to understand all of the information being supplied. Many people avoid voicemail, choosing to use email, text messaging, and social media instead.

Google has a transcription service called Google Voice, but it requires a Google Voice routing number and the transcriptions are sent by email. Apple’s voicemail service will reportedly work with your regular phone number and iCloud.

Virtual assistants are becoming very popular among tech companies. In addition to Apple’s Siri, there is Cortana from Microsoft, Google Now from Google, and Alexa from Amazon. According to a report from The Information, Facebook is also testing virtual assistant, called Moneypenny.

Apple is also working to improve Siri with the ability to show photos, search within various applications, and identify unknown phone numbers. The upgrades to Siri are included in the iOS 9 mobile operating system, scheduled to launch in the fall. According to an Apple presentation held in June, the intelligent digital assistant can now respond to more natural-language queries. In the last year, Siri has seen a 40 percent reduction in word error rate to 5 percent.

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