The good and bad of Apples personal voice system

There’s a lot of chat about the newly announced personal voice stuff from Apple. A lot are screaming how awful an idea it is without having a clue about the field of AAC. There’s some good work on places like MacStories interviewing David at AssistiveWare- and this piece from FastCompany which explain the background well. Let’s be frank. It’s either mildly useful or a major disruptor to a field of companies and research groups doing similar thing at cost. You can discuss the business situation but for end users it’s a win in my book. I do have some concerns though and that’s on portability. If you create a voice it shouldn’t be locked to one system. If your access needs change and say you need eyegaze and an eyegaze system not brilliantly supported on iOS then what happens to your voice ? Tough (I imagine).

Let’s see. But my money is riding on no portability out if iOS.

See also Michael Tsai’s concerns

Will there be a way to export your Personal Voice so that you aren’t totally reliant on iCloud to preserve it? Many of these users will not be able to just re-record new prompts if something goes wrong or if they need to switch to a different Apple ID.

They aren’t the first to have this problem. Smartbox recently have done a solution with SpeakUnique for regional voices. As much as it’s needed I’m not aware of any way you can use those voices on other platforms.

Will Wade @willwade