Apple preps talking iPod?

“Not content with changing the world’s music-listening habits, Apple has come up with another innovation: the talking iPod,” Richard Gray writes for The Scotsman.

Gray writes, “A new generation of machines will use sophisticated software to convert the names of bands, albums and individual tracks into recognisable speech.”

“The new iPod will tell you what it is about to play, removing the need for users to look at the screen while selecting music, and making the device safer and easier to use while driving, cycling or in badly-lit locations,” Gray writes.

“Apple has flatly refused to comment on the design, but a patent lodged by the company in the United States makes clear the sixth generation of iPods will be able to convert those famous text menus into speech,” Gray writes.

“The ingenious system will rely on home PC processing power and clever software. The computer being used to download tracks will analyse each album title, song name and artist and convert them into sound files. These will be loaded into the iPod, along with the song files,” Gray writes.

“Users of the music players will still operate the Clickwheel as normal, but hear the names of songs and bands through their headphones,” Gray writes.

Gray writes, “[The] Apple [patent application] says its system will break down words in a new way that makes it possible to pronounce perfectly even the most obscure song titles and artist names.

“It also proposes using ‘voice talent” – such as famous actors – to make the speech more human and add in the celebrity factor,” Gray writes. “The patent also proposes using different voice ‘characteristics,’ such as gender, for different sections of the iPod menus.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Too Hot!” for the heads up.]
We can hear it now: “Back in the ‘old days’ we had to look at the iPod’s screen to use it, you whippersnapper!”

Just a not that Apple iPods that are equipped with the Nike+iPod Sport Kit already provide some aural feedback to the user.

How Nike+iPod works video:

Direct link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVDEXzxZWQw

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Related articles:
Apple releases iTunes 6.0.5 with Nike+iPod Sport Kit sync features – June 29, 2006
Nike+iPod Sport Kit now available for order at Apple Store – June 13, 2006
Dvorak thinks iPod+Nike Sport Kit is ‘nutty’ – May 24, 2006
The making of Apple iPod+Nike Sport Kit and there’s more to come – May 24, 2006
Nike+iPod Sport Kit sensor’s battery will outlast the shoes – May 24, 2006
Analyst: Nike+Apple = iPod as a platform – May 23, 2006
Apple and Nike shares rise folowing Nike+iPod announcement – May 23, 2006
Nike and Apple team up to launch Nike+iPod, footwear that talks to your iPod – May 23, 2006

22 Comments

  1. Deedubya, I remember reading a post a few months ago about this guy whose dad was getting progressively blind. His dad had to remember the clicks to get to particular playlists. He wrote Apple to ask for this feature for his dad and wanted no royalties for his suggestion.

    This is just one situation where a feature like this would be useful. I’m sure us Mac folks will come up with more uses for this feature…

  2. If anyone thinks that listening to an iPod is safer than looking at an iPod while driving they are deluded. Safety experts have already demonstrated that the risks of being involved in a motor vehicle accident are not statistically different between persons using a handheld or hands-free phone.

    It is the inherent distraction of using a phone while driving and not the type of phone that is the primary factor in having accident. The results of not paying attention while driving are similar to those of people with a buzz regardless of the type of phone used. I would reckon that that the risks of accident scanning through a series of iPod menus while driving are similar to the distractions of using any phone.

  3. I thought that the whole thing about using an iPod was to get rid of the fusking moronic DJ.

    Now puttig back the robotic DJ is the next feature?

    Might as well get a $15 sports FM radio.

  4. I hope the 6G has more going for it than that! Hey, but that’ll be good, too. I’ll be able to buy a refurbed 5G from the apple store for even less money and feel great about it!

    Having a full faced touch screen and putting more PDA functions on it would be a good idea. Yes, the fat, bloated corpse of the PDA market is stagnating in the sun. But I would buy a 6G if it had those functions to get something off of my belt.

    Just my two cents..

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