Apple Speech Recognition 


English Speech Recognition

Via Voice for Macs


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Apple Computer, Inc.
Apple - Products - Mac OS - Speech Technologies


English Speech Recognition

Apple Speech Recognition lets your Macintosh understand what you say, giving you a new dimension for interacting with and controlling your computer by voice. You don’t even have to train it to understand your voice, because it already understands you, from your very first word. You can speak naturally, without pausing or stopping, and even add your own words (like “Denibian Slime Devil,” if you’re a trekkie). Apple’s leadership in speech recognition technology makes it possible — we’re bringing a whole new dimension to the user interface: speech

The latest version of Mac OS includes all the software you’ll need to start using Speech Recognition and Text-to-Speech. If the version of Mac OS you’re using doesn’t include Speech software, download it and give it a try.

Questions or suggestions? Send them to plaintalk@apple.com.

(see website for more manufacturer product information)

(Information last checked:  Feb'01)

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IBM Voice Systems


ViaVoice for Macintosh, Enhanced Edition

  • Estimated Price $141
  • Available: Direct, Computer Stores, and Resellers

Continues the success of IBM's best-selling, award winning ViaVoice for Mac, Millennium Edition. IBM's newest continuous speech utility for the Macintosh OS offers new features and increased functionality that build on and complement the features found in the original product.

Features such as Direct Dictation, which allow users to dictate and edit speech directly into supported applications, voice commands that allow Internet browser navigation and chat interaction, Universal Serial Bus (USB) support and customized language models are included.

For the first time, ViaVoice for Macintosh, Enhanced Edition delivers a complete solution that provides users the ability to dictate, edit and correct text within an application. Communicate by dictating in applications such as Microsoft Word and Apple Works using a natural speaking voice 

ViaVoice for Macintosh, Enhanced Edition is currently available in US English only.

Key Features
  • USB connectivity to ensure high quality digital input with USB microphone included in the box.
  • Direct Dictation with correction into Appleworks 6.0, Microsoft Word 98 and Internet Explorer 4.5.
  • An Enhanced Correction Interface makes correcting dictation faster and easier.
  • Online Command and Control of AppleWorks and Microsoft Word
  • Accuracy improvements including Unsupervised Enrollment, Smart Redictation, and automatic document analysis.
  • Specialized vocabularies for Computers, Business and Finance, Chatter's Jargon and Cuisine; which can increase accuracy when users work within these disciplines.
  • VoiceCenter user interface with two views (not zoomed and zoomed).

(see website for more manufacturer product information)

Notes from T. Patrick Henebry (May 2001)

IBM ViaVoice Enhanced for the Mac:

This update is available as a CDROM only. There is no charge for this update.

This level is Version 2.0.3 and should only be applied to any Version 2 of ViaVoice for Mac Enhanced Edition (US Only).

What's included in the ViaVoice for Mac Version 2.0.3 Update CD Included in this update are the following fixes:

Mac OS 9.1 compatibility
Ability to run both Microsoft Word 98 and Microsoft Word 2001 on the same system Installation problems when installing in certain time zones The engine log file was being left in the Temporary Items folder Added 'Analyze on Save' checkbox to Preferences Panel, Extras Tab. This fix allows the user to specify if 'Analyze Document' should run on every Save.
Other minor bug fixes.
Ordering Instructions
Call 1-800-TALK-2-ME (1-800-825-5263), press 3 (Speak to a Voice Systems
Agent), and then press 8. Please ask the agent for the ViaVoice for Mac Version 2.0.3 Update CD.

Please have the following information available as this is required to send you the CD:

Technical Support ID (Found on the back of your manual)
Telephone number
(optional) E-Mail Address
CDs are sent regular U.S. Mail. Please allow 7-10 business days for

I *do not* know if IBM ViaVoice Enhanced 2.03 will run in MacOS X Classic--but given the performance penalties I advise against even trying to do so.

NOTE: IBM now has SDKs (Software Development Kits) available for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux speech recognition
NOTE 2: IBM is currently *the only* company that has SR for Linux.
NOTE 3: there is a ViaVoice section of the CompuServe IBM forum

(Information last checked:  Feb'01)

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  • Estimated Price: $139 without headset
  • Availability: Direct

Dictation, editing, formatting and simple speech navigation with any application. iListenTM frees you from the keyboard and mouse. You are able to dictate text, edit and format it with just the power of your voice.

If you find you are repeating yourself a lot, create a text macro with those words. Then you can "type" those words with a single phrase or single word.

Feature Summary

  • Continuous Speech Recognition — Dictation in normal tone of voice and at a normal pace using the Philips FreeSpeech 2000 speech engine
  • Direct Dictation — Dictate, edit and format text directly in any application
  • Text Macro Capabilities — Insert (up to 32,000 character) standardized or predetermined phrases and text - with a single spoken phrase
  • Speech Navigation — Open, close and control applications and navigate the desktop by speech
  • Large Vocabulary — Active vocabulary of greater than 30,000 words. Backup vocabulary of 300,000 words developed in cooperation with Oxford University Press provides more words
  • Command and Control — Speech control of the computer through built-in normal language and individually created commands
  • AppleScript Compatible — Ability to take advantage of Apple's built-in scripting language
  • Internet Ready — Surf the web with your voice
  • Multiple User Support — Multiple users create their own speech profiles on the same computer
  • Mac OS 9 or greater
  • Requires a PowerMacintosh G3 or PowerMacintosh G4 computer with at least 128mb of RAM (iListen does not support the use of upgrade cards at this time)

Notes from T. Patrick Henebry (May 2001)

Users of Mac OS 9.1 may experience intermittent crashing when using iListen.

We recommend anyone using iListen use Mac OS 9.0.4 until we resolve our compatibility issues.


The first release of Mac OS X is a great step forward towards providing a modern operating system for Mac users.

We are working closely with Apple and hope to have a dictation product available for Mac OS X later this year. Please keep an eye on this web site for more details as they become available.

For the time being, iListen will not work on Mac OS X or within Mac OS X's Classic Environment.


  • Proposed Price in the $99 - $149 range
  • Availability: Direct

Disclaimer: iDictate is under development. The following is written as if the product exists and other application vendors have already created MacSpeech Ready applications. This is what we intend, but it is still subject to change.

Proposed Features

Just Simple Dictation.

iDictate is an introduction to the power of speech as a means to use your computer. Where you used to type, now you can talk to your computer.

iDictate enables you to dictate into any text area in almost any application (including Finder).

Speech Recognition absolutely must have high quality sound input. iDictate includes a high quality preamp and microphone headset.

Proposed Feature Summary 

  • Continuous Speech Recognition — Dictation in normal tone of voice and at a normal pace
  • Direct Dictation — Dictate and correct text directly in applications
  • Large Vocabulary — Active vocabulary of greater than 60,000 words. More words available in backup vocabulary
  • Multiple User Support — Multiple users create their own speech files on the same computer
  • Multiple Languages — We will have US English first and then the following languages as quickly as we can: UK English, German, French, Dutch, Flemish, Austrian German, North American Spanish, Spanish, Italian.
  • Platform Compatible — Easy Speech file transferability across all supported Macintosh computers.
  • Microphone/Preamp Included — High quality preamp and headset microphone included
  • Mac OS 9 required
  • Requires 604/220 or greater with at least 96mb of RAM



ListenDo! is a Free PlainTalk enhancement for improved command and control of your Mac (no dictation)." This PlainTalk-based application that provides enhanced voice control of Macintosh computers. ListenDo! is being freely distributed to the Macintosh community.

With ListenDo!, you can control most Macintosh applications using your voice. ListenDo! allows you to pull down menus, click and double-click the mouse, and voice-activate task specific AppleScripts. The program supports ScriptPaksTM, a MacSpeech feature that allows you to enhance ListenDo! by installing sets of scripts for specific applications. ScriptPaks are available for purchase and download from the MacSpeech Store.

A ScriptPak for AppleWorks is included with the program. Additional ScriptPaks can be purchased from the company's eCommerce site for between $10 and $20. ScriptPaks for Acrobat Reader, Eudora, FileMaker Pro, Hotline Connect, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Netscape Communicator/Navigator, Now Contact, Now Up-To-Date, and SoundJam MP are expected sometime during the first half of 2000, with more to follow. ScriptPaksTM are an exclusive MacSpeech technology that add enhanced voice commands for many Macintosh applications. ScriptPaks are available from the MacSpeech eCommerce site.

ListenDo! can also create their own voice commands for your favorite applications, including text macros that type up to 32,000 characters of text with one spoken command.

System Requirements

  • 604 based Power Macintoshor greater running at 200mhz or faster.
  • 48mb or RAM (96mb recommended)
  • 5mb of Hard drive space
  • Mac OS 8.5.1 or later
  • PlainTalk 1.5.4 or later
  • A PlainTalk compatible microphone

(see website for more manufacturer product information)

(Information last checked:  Feb'01)

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Last Updated: 08/31/01