The partnership between leader in speech recognition, and text-to-speech software Nuance, and Apple has been well documented in recent weeks by many sites around the web. Apple’s newest operating system, Mac OS X Lion (coming soon) was released to developers and Apple has incorporated the Nuance technology into both iOS 5 and Mac OS X.
Speech recognition technology isn’t new, in fact Android phones have had it for a while. Like most features that have come lately (with the exception of FaceTime), Apple won’t be the first ones to do it… but they’ll strive to do it best. Mac OS X Lion will come with some speech to text (and vice versa) features added in, and we can’t wait to try them out!
Check out what the new improved text-to-speech function in Lion will likely sound like by clicking a voice below. Note, these are examples of the crisp/clean voice structure coming from the computer reading text to you:
- Nuance Mei-Ling Mandarin Chinese Female
- Nuance Felix French Canadian Male
- Nuance Alda Swedish Female
- Nuance Tom US English Male
- Nuance Moira Irish Female
When comparing these voices to the voices currently available in OS X the differences are ridiculously obvious. Current OS X users get voices that sound like robots, or stuff like “Bubbles.” They have absolutely no regard to vocal intonation, or HOW people speak words. If you listing to how those voices sound, you’ll hear a more realistic sounding voice reading you text. It expresses words better, with more enthusiasm.
Lions new menu options, pictured above, will allow users to choose between a variety accents as well, allowing users to customize smoother speech patterns, or dialect and pronunciation differences that they are used to. Don’t think they are sounding fully human though… we have a bit of time to spend on this until we get there.
It’s pretty apparent now that Apple has obtained a licensing agreement with Nuance. It will be interesting to see how Apple presents these advancements in speech-to-text, and voice recognition technology to consumers when they are finally ready to present/release the full retail version of Mac OS X Lion.
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