OS X 10.7 Lion is set to feature a wide variety of new high-quality text-to-speech voices, which appear to belong to Nuance, a speech technology company. The new voices sound great, and speak in many major world languages.
You can hear a few samples by listening to the WAV files below (courtesy of OSXDaily), pulled from the NextUp Nuance Sample page. These are conformed to be the same voices found in the latest OS X Lion developer preview.
- English American Accent – Samantha
- English British Accent – Serena
- French Canadian – Felix
- Spanish – Monica
As you can hear, they are significantly improved from the current voices in Mac OS X text-to-speech, some of which are quite drone-like. You can listen more more samples over at the NextUp Nuance Sample Page, but these only represent a fraction of what can be found in Lion DP3′s new Speech preferences. The new voices exist as downloadable content in DP3. 9to5Mac mentions that each voice independently costs $45, suggesting Apple has reached an agreement with Nuance to license the voice technology, and they also suggest that these voices and text-to-speech technology will be a component of iOS 5.
Lion is due to ship this summer, likely sometime close around WWDC 2011 in June, and while we don’t know for certain what will and won’t find its way to the final release, it’s a pretty safe bet that this will find its way in there.