Head of Apple’s speech team explains how Siri learns new languages

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 9, 2017

Just how exactly does Siri learn a new language? In today’s interview with Reuters, Apple’s speech team head Alex Acero offered a behind-the-scenes look at how Siri is being taught new languages, a process that involves script-writing, capturing voices in multiple accents and dialects and using machine learning and artificial intelligence to build and evolve new language models over time. The system requires a team of people tasked with reading passages of manually transcribed text.

Before actually updating Siri, Apple first rolls out Dictation support for a new language.

Siri currently speaks 21 languages in 36 countries. By comparison, Microsoft’s Cortana supports eight languages tailored for thirteen countries, Google Assistant speaks four languages while Amazon’s Alexa works only in English and German. Read More

 

Am I the only one wanting a keyboard on Apple Watch?

By Sébastien Page on May 25, 2016

Call me crazy or call me what you will, but when I saw Android Wear 2.0 was bringing support for third-party keyboards, I immediately started imagining how useful that would be on my Apple Watch.

Of course the screen is too small to accommodate a keyboard. Heck, it’s already too small to punch in your passcode without missing a tap target. Still, not only do I think there may me a need for it, but I also believe the technology to make this right is now available. Read More

 

tvOS 9.2 is here: Dictation, folders, Live Photos, wireless keyboards, iCloud Photo Library & more

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 21, 2016

tvOS 9.2, a new update for the operating system which powers the fourth-generation Apple TV, is now available for public consumption. The new firmware, released alongside iOS 9.3, OS X El Capitan 10.11.4 and watchOS 2.2, is a very interesting update for the cool new features it brings to the table.

tvOS 9.2 enables several features missing from the initial tvOS release, including long-awaited support for wireless keyboards, dictation, Siri support for App Store searches, app folders on the Home screen, a revamped app switcher, Siri Remote improvements, support for Live Photos and iCloud Photo Library and more. Read More

 

Get your Mac to speak any selected text

By Anthony Bouchard on Feb 29, 2016

Your Mac, just like any iOS devices you own, comes with an ability to speak selected text. This comes in handy when you can’t see the text very well and would find it useful to have the text read out loud to you.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how you can make your Mac speak a selected body of text with ease. Read More

 

tvOS 9.2 beta 3 preview: Search the App Store with Siri, use Dictation to enter text and login credentials

By Jeff Benjamin on Feb 8, 2016

It seems like every time there’s a new tvOS beta, an interesting new feature is included for us to talk about. With tvOS 9.2 beta 3, that new feature is the ability to use Dictation on text input fields. It also includes the ability to dictate—character by character—usernames and passwords.

Along with the new Dictation feature, comes support for searching the App Store using voice input from the Siri Remote. Have a look at our video preview that showcases each new feature in action. Read More

 

How to filter mature language for Siri and Dictation

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 27, 2016

Sometimes when you use the dictation feature on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad—or just converse with Siri and it misunderstands you—you might be in for a surprise seeing explicit language that you don’t really want others to see, especially if you talk to Siri on your new Apple TV and kids are present.

Fortunately, both iOS and tvOS give you all the controls you need to prevent profanities from showing up when you use speech-to-text or Siri. In this post, you’ll learn how to disable explicit language for Siri and Dictation on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad and filter out explicit language for Siri on your Apple TV. Read More

 

How to change dictation language on Apple Watch

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 12, 2015

As part of the Apple Watch setup procedure, you’re asked to select your preferred language that will be used system-wide in apps, the user interface and other places. Your choice also determines the language used for dictation.

For example, my watch is set to English even though my mother tongue is Croatian (I just find English user interfaces easier to use).

Unfortunately, this gives me headache if I want to dictate messages to my local buddies in Croatian, not English. But did you know that you can transcribe words spoken in languages other than your default one?

I sure as hell did not and am not ashamed to admit that I was totally oblivious to using multiple languages for the Apple Watch’s dictation feature. In this post, I’m going to teach you real quick how to do just that with a few easy-to-follow steps. Read More

 

How to enable Enhanced Dictation in OS X for streaming speech-to-text with live feedback

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 17, 2014

OS X includes a nifty Dictation feature which allows you to control your Mac and apps with your voice. You can use “speakable items”, basically a set of spoken commands, to open apps, choose menu items, email contacts and convert whole spoken sentences to text, wherever you can type text.

This is much like iOS’s Dictation feature as both iOS and OS X use the same Nuance-powered technology that turns speech to text. iOS devices have limited computing power so the Dictation feature on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad requires network connectivity in iOS 7 (iOS 8 supports streaming voice recognition and 22 new languages).

On the Mac, computing resources like CPU power, battery life and RAM are not of paramount importance as on mobile, Therefore, OS X Mavericks provides a new Enhanced Dictation feature which converts your words to text without utilizing Apple’s servers.

In other words, server-based Dictation lets you dictate without an active Internet connection. Because voice recognition processing runs locally on your Mac, text appears instantly as you speak. That is: continuos, streaming dictation with live feedback is made possible.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to turn on Enhanced Dictation in OS X and take advantage of speech-to-text, even when you’re off the grid… Read More

 

Apple caught testing offline Dictation for iOS 7

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 6, 2013

Among the headline new Mac features set to debut when OS X Mavericks gets released this Fall is a little but important enhancement to Dictation.

Hawk-eyed readers will recall that Dictation was brought to the Mac as part of OS X Mountain Lion last summer. Based on Siri’s speech-to-text component, Dictation on the Mac requires a broadband Internet connection.

In Mavericks, Apple will let you optionally download a nearly 1GB package to power offline Dictation.

But Apple’s engineers aren’t stopping here and are reportedly privately testing offline Dictation for iOS 7. More details right after the break… Read More

 

Samsung lambasts Siri dictation in weirdest Galaxy S4 ad yet

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 5, 2013

I appreciate memorable, creative advertising as much as the next guy, but I just don’t get a new Galaxy S4 commercial Samsung is airing in Iceland.

Instead of focusing on the handset’s features or the usual iPhone bashing, this time around Samsung’s creative agency has gone over the top in depicting a guy trying to make a phone call on a real apple.

Realizing swiping across fruit makes no sense, the ad then switches to a happy scene where our hero operates a Galaxy S4. The not-so-subtle jab at Apple is plain weird, to put it mildly. I know ads are supposed to take into account the often vast cultural differences across markets, but I’m not sure Samsung did itself a favor with this particular commercial… Read More

 
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