In the wind up to Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference for Apple to release news of upcoming new impressive technology focused on Accessibility issues around Global Accessibility Awareness Day. This year is no different.
Apple’s press release highlights the new features for cognitive accessibility, Live Speech, Personal Voice and Point and Speak Magnifier. You can read the press release here.
While each of the advances are more than worthy I was particularly impressed reading about Personal Voice. Here’s an excerpt from that release:
For users at risk of losing their ability to speak — such as those with a recent diagnosis of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or other conditions that can progressively impact speaking ability — Personal Voice is a simple and secure way to create a voice that sounds like them.
Users can create a Personal Voice by reading along with a randomized set of text prompts to record 15 minutes of audio on iPhone or iPad. This speech accessibility feature uses on-device machine learning to keep users’ information private and secure, and integrates seamlessly with Live Speech so users can speak with their Personal Voice when connecting with loved ones.1
Personal Voice allows users at risk of losing their ability to speak to create a voice that sounds like them, and integrates seamlessly with Live Speech so users can speak with their Personal Voice when connecting with loved ones.
“At the end of the day, the most important thing is being able to communicate with friends and family,” said Philip Green, board member and ALS advocate at the Team Gleason nonprofit, who has experienced significant changes to his voice since receiving his ALS diagnosis in 2018. “If you can tell them you love them, in a voice that sounds like you, it makes all the difference in the world — and being able to create your synthetic voice on your iPhone in just 15 minutes is extraordinary.”
I’m reminded of the time when noted film critic Roger Ebert, who lost his voice due to cancer, made quite a stir with news of how he was using a synthesized version of his voice to communicate. It was big news then. Apple’s Live Voice seems like it has the potential to make that kind of thing more accessible to many more.
Here’s hoping it fulfills that potential.