Apple updates high quality OS X speech with Voice Update 2.0

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Tom and Jill are going uphill, version 2.0 that is. The high quality voices, first introduced in OS X Lion as optional downloads, now have updates available through Software Update.

In March 2011, AppleInsider was first to report that Apple would be bundling dozens of high quality new speech synthesis voices supporting a wide variety of languages and regional dialects.

Mac OS X Lion shipped later that year with support for downloading the optional voices within the Speech pref pane of System Preferences. In Mountain Lion, OS X retains the default system voice of Alex, first introduced in OS X 10.5 Leopard in late 2007.



However, uses can browse higher quality alternatives (pictured above) from the revamped Dictation & Speech pref panel, by selecting "Customize" from the System Voice selection popup.

The system will then download each of the selected voice packs chosen for installation by the user. The optional voices weigh in nearly 1 GB each.



Shortly after the release of Mountain Lion on Wednesday, Apple made available a series of "2.0" Voice Updates for each of the optional voices users had previously installed. Each update "delivers pronunciation and clarity improvements."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,282member


    Aren't these Nuance voices? Pretty certain I've seen these in use with some GPS systems.


     


    EDIT: Confirmed. They're definitely voices from Nuance.

  • Reply 2 of 39
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member


    I was hoping for an Albert Einstein 2.0 voice.  Oh well.

  • Reply 3 of 39
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member


    This illustrates one thing that's driving me batty about Mountain Lion so far.  "Software update" now sends you to the App Store where the results you are going to get will vary wildly depending on what part of the world you are in.  In this case, I have Emily, Jill, and Samantha installed but I live outside of the US and they are US voices.  Therefore I have no updates waiting in the App store, yet there are updates for these voices.  


     


    Having to go to a separate place in the OS (System Preferences> Dictation & Speech), and "fiddle" with the voice controls just to force the OS to download something that should be available on the standard Software Update is annoying at best and an impossibility for most users who wouldn't know how to do it.  


     


    It's also going to make life in IT support a whole lot harder because one of the main things users never, ever do is update their friggin software and the very *first* thing an IT support person wants to do is to make sure that the software that's having the problem is actually up to date.  The way they have it set up now, no third party can do software update without having access to the users AppleID.  It's hard enough convincing some users to let you have their User Account password, to convince them to give you their AppleID and password is harder still and shouldn't be necessary just to update system software.  


     


    So far, I think the blending of the App Store and Software Update is a colossally bad idea that seems to have no real upside at all.  It doesn't seem to me to be likely to make the user upgrade their system software any more often than they do now for instance.  Updating your software on OS X seems like a complete mess at this point IMO.   

  • Reply 4 of 39


    Sound noticeably better to me just with casual use.

  • Reply 5 of 39
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member


    Jill's my fav. 

  • Reply 6 of 39
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    Aren't these Nuance voices? Pretty certain I've seen these in use with some GPS systems.


     


    EDIT: Confirmed. They're definitely voices from Nuance.





    Confirmed how?  I'm not doubting, just curious.

  • Reply 7 of 39
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,438member
    gazoobee wrote: »
    So far, I think the blending of the App Store and Software Update is a colossally bad idea that seems to have no real upside at all.  It doesn't seem to me to be likely to make the user upgrade their system software any more often than they do now for instance.  Updating your software on OS X seems like a complete mess at this point IMO.   

    Have you left unbiased feedback at the appropriate web pages? A rant, they will delete.
  • Reply 8 of 39
    revilrerevilre Posts: 67member
    Them not showing up in the app store updates section has nothing to do with where you are, and entirely to do with the fact that the voices can't be updated until they are installed. They are not installed by default. So the only way you'll see updates is if you "fiddle" with the settings and enable the voices in question which downloads and installs them in the first place.

    Its nothing to do with App Store beyond thats where the updates show up now. You'd have to "fiddle" with it before with the old update mechanism too.
  • Reply 9 of 39
    revilrerevilre Posts: 67member


    duplicate post

  • Reply 10 of 39
    revilrerevilre Posts: 67member


    duplicate post

  • Reply 11 of 39
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    It's also going to make life in IT support a whole lot harder because one of the main things users never, ever do is update their friggin software and the very *first* thing an IT support person wants to do is to make sure that the software that's having the problem is actually up to date.  The way they have it set up now, no third party can do software update without having access to the users AppleID.  It's hard enough convincing some users to let you have their User Account password, to convince them to give you their AppleID and password is harder still and shouldn't be necessary just to update system software.  


     


    So far, I think the blending of the App Store and Software Update is a colossally bad idea that seems to have no real upside at all.  It doesn't seem to me to be likely to make the user upgrade their system software any more often than they do now for instance.  Updating your software on OS X seems like a complete mess at this point IMO.   



     


    It sounds like you're referring to corporate IT support.  Surely employees aren't using their personal iTunes accounts to download software updates on company computers.  Or do you mean like Genius Bar-type support?  No one should be telling anyone their passwords period.  You'll just to have to have the person type in their password when the prompts come up.


     


    It is a little disconcerting to use the App Store to upgrade one's OS, but how is it a "mess" or colossally bad idea?  I upgraded from Lion to Snow Lion (as I call it) with what seemed like no more than 10 clicks and hadn't had any issues at all.  I compare it to the old days of DVDs, CDs, and (shudder) floppy disks and an happy to see how simple and easy things have gotten.  The "hardest" part was plugging in my portable USB drive and clicking backup now in the Time Machine drop-down before starting.  "It just works."

  • Reply 12 of 39
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,282member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by malax View Post




    Confirmed how?  I'm not doubting, just curious.



    Do a Google search for "Nuance Tessa voice" or "Nuance Nikko voice". I was pretty certain where these came from as soon as I saw British Daniel and British Emily, common GPS voices, in the voice list. A couple of searches confirmed the source.

  • Reply 13 of 39
    jccjcc Posts: 209member



    #next_pages_container { width: 5px; hight: 5px; position: absolute; top: -100px; left: -100px; z-index: 2147483647 !important; }
    These new voices are much better than the default old. These sound more natural.


     
  • Reply 14 of 39
    atashiatashi Posts: 59member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    This illustrates one thing that's driving me batty about Mountain Lion so far.  "Software update" now sends you to the App Store where the results you are going to get will vary wildly depending on what part of the world you are in.  In this case, I have Emily, Jill, and Samantha installed but I live outside of the US and they are US voices.  Therefore I have no updates waiting in the App store, yet there are updates for these voices.  



     


    What happens if you run software update through the command line, does that redirect to the app store? Or is the command-line software update not even available any more in ML?


     


    Apple's help page seems to suggest it should still work in ML though they don't reference explicitly, just saying 'lion and later': http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1974

  • Reply 15 of 39


    I have downloaded both Tom & Jill, but after downloading them Software Update says the system is up-to-date. When i download Tom & Jill did i download 2.0? They were only about 400MB each somehow i feel thats not the 2.0 version.

  • Reply 16 of 39
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member


    If no updates show up for you in the App Store, then at that particular time, there are no updates for your software. 

  • Reply 17 of 39
    cvaldes1831cvaldes1831 Posts: 1,832member
    The version number might be in your software update history.
  • Reply 18 of 39


    Thanks, it seems that they have removed Software Update history from System preferences as well. However I did check the install Logs and in fact when I did select Tom & Jill it did download version 2.0 (weighing in at only 400MB each). If you didn't already have the voiced installed you wont see them in Software update. Thanks again for your help.

  • Reply 19 of 39
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Atashi View Post


     


    What happens if you run software update through the command line, does that redirect to the app store? Or is the command-line software update not even available any more in ML?


     


    Apple's help page seems to suggest it should still work in ML though they don't reference explicitly, just saying 'lion and later': http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1974



     


    Well, I already did the voice updates manually.  The command line method is still there, but I'm not sure if it works as right now as I'm already completely up to date.  

  • Reply 20 of 39
    na1yana1ya Posts: 3member


    Sounds better, but still a disaster comparing to IVONA (www.ivona.com).

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