Apple releases ‘Spoken Interface’ preview to select users

“Earlier this year, Apple announced new Spoken Interface functionality, intended for those users who have difficulties using standard computer input and display technologies. This new functionality is to be included in an upcoming major revision to Mac OS X,” MacFixIt reports. “On Wednesday, some users who filled out Apple’s Spoken Interface questionnaire were invited to download and install the Preview version of the Spoken Interface software. According to the email notification:”

The Mac OS X spoken interface provides an additional way to use your Macintosh computer that does not require using a mouse or seeing the screen. In addition to speaking the contents of documents, the spoken interface speaks a description of all the activities taking place on the computer, such as which applications are running, how many windows are open, and much more. You can also control your computer using only the keyboard.

This preview release of the spoken interface provides you with an opportunity to explore this technology before it is built into the Mac OS X operating system. After installing the software, you’ll be able to learn about and explore the features of the spoken interface before its general release.

Please note that the software contained in this preview is not feature complete and some features may not work as expected. While Apple has worked hard to make this preview release reliable you should only install the spoken interface software on a Mac that is not critical to your work and regularly back up your important files and information.

Full article here.

Find out more about Apple’s “Spoken Interface” technology here.

23 Comments

  1. The precursor to the Apple PDA?

    The problem with PDAs is the inability to easily enter information, tiny keyboards and by definition a PDA is to small to comfortably write on, even if the handwriting recognition is up to scratch. That’s why they haven’t been succesful.*

    A workable speech user interface is the only way to input to a PDA, should Apple do it we can expect the usual high standard.

    Remember a big splash at MacWorld three? years ago when Steve introduced an IBM exec to announce their collaboration on speech technology. This was when speech input was purely a business application selling to lawyers and replacing typists, inapplicable to Apple’s market. I’ve been expecting an SUI ever since.

    *Psion made excellent PDAs for a decade or so but were wiped out by inferior technology and aggressive marketing from Palm and Microsoft. Now they do Symbian, the most popular OS for smartphones.

  2. The spoken interface is quite incredible. I have the preview and it lets you setup what you want spoken from menues, to running applications, and obviously text and alert messages. However, the voices have been a tiny bit improved to be more fluent but still incredibly choppy. Like you can understand it, but I didn’t go any further after the voices sucked too much.

    Apparently the program is supposed to be compatible with all programs but only works with Apple ones at the moment. I would like to see how well this focus progresses over 10 years. Should be impressive, but those cut and paste voices need to be improved.

  3. If you’re talking voice input, it will always have a limited market. The last thing I’d like to do is talk to my computer. I find that weird, as well as inefficient.

    “So take a letter, Maria.”

  4. First post, second post, second-last post and last post. I own this page [primal scream]. Any following posters: may a thousand dung beetles clean Uranus.

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  6. <<Lets see them complain about this “point update”>>
    er, that would be “lets hear them complain about this”

    Er… that would be: “Let’s….

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