We’ve been speculating on Apple’s partnership with Nuance for some weeks now, and confirmation the two companies are working together comes with the new speech technology discovered in the Mac OS X Lion beta.
Under the ‘Speech’ menu within Lion’s system preferences are some new English voices with a range of accents including Australian, Indian, Irish, Scottish and South African. They have been present since the first Lion beta, but no one really took any notice until Netputing found that all of these voices are the same as those offered by Nuance in its RealSpeak product.
To access these voices through RealSpeak, however, Nuance charges $45 for each. While these voices within Lion may be add-ons available for purchase at a cost, you can bet that Apple has a deal in place that will see them bundled free with Lion.
Speculation that Apple and Nuance are to make a joint announcement at WWDC in June is now looking even more likely, though it may not be solely focused on iOS 5 as we had previously expected.