Apple today offered a preview of accessibility improvements coming later this year, introducing a couple of new features called live speech and Personal Voice.
Live Speech allows users to type what they want to say and have it spoken out loud. Personal Voice is a way for people who are at risk of losing their ability to speak (for example, those who have been diagnosed with ALS) to create and save a voice that sounds like them.
This is how Apple describes the new feature live speech coming later this year:
With Live Speech on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, users can type what they want to say to be spoken aloud during phone calls and FaceTime, as well as in-person conversations.
Users can also save commonly used phrases to quickly jump into lively conversations with family, friends and colleagues. Live Speech has been designed to help millions of people around the world who are unable to speak or who have lost their speech over time.
With Personal Voice, Users will be asked to read a random set of text messages to record 15 minutes of audio on the iPhone or iPad. Thanks to machine learning on the device, iPhone or iPad can create a voice that sounds like them.
This voice feature integrates with Live Speech, so users can speak in their personal voice on FaceTime calls and in-person conversations.
For users who are at risk of losing the ability to speak, such as those recently diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or other diseases that can progressively affect the ability to speak, Personal Voice is a simple and safe way to create a voice that sounds like them.
Users can create a personal voice by reading a random set of text instructions to record 15 minutes of audio on iPhone or iPad. This voice accessibility feature uses on-device machine learning to keep users’ information private and secure, and seamlessly integrates with Live Speech so users can speak in their personal voice when connecting with loved ones.
Basically, this feature will allow users to create their own synthetic voice on iPhone just by reading Apple’s preset instructions.
Apple says these new accessibility features will start rolling out later this year.