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 MACWORLD, Boston, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of its continuing strategy to enhance the human interface of its Macintosh personal computer, Apple Computer Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: AAPL) today announced availability of the PlainTalk Text-to-Speech Developer's Toolkit. The toolkit can be used by software developers to create Macintosh-based applications that convert typed text to spoken English. Apple's PlainTalk Text-to-Speech (TTS) technology is an extension to the System 7 operating system, and provides a standard way for applications to synthesize human speech. With PlainTalk TTS, Apple is adding a new dimension to the Macintosh human interface -- already acknowledged as an innovation leader within the personal-computer industry.
 Earlier versions of text-to-speech technology have been implemented by a number of computer vendors -- including Apple -- over the last few decades. Now, with PlainTalk TTS, mainstream personal computer users can have affordable text-to-speech capabilities of a quality previously available only on expensive computing systems. Apple expects that its developers will incorporate PlainTalk TTS into mainstream productivity applications and a variety of specialized applications in areas such as education, automated telephone-based information access, access systems for disabled individuals, and database reference systems.
 "Now that Macintosh developers can take advantage of affordable, high-quality text-to-speech technology, customers should see significant new enhancements to the human interface in Macintosh applications," said David Nagel, Apple's senior vice president and general manager of the AppleSoft and Advanced Technology groups. "PlainTalk Text-to-Speech technology should make many everyday tasks much easier for mainstream computer users, as well as for those with special needs."
 The PlainTalk Text-to-Speech Developer's Toolkit consists of the Text-to-Speech Manager (TTSM), which is an application program interface (API); various voices; and two text-to-speech engines -- MacinTalk 2 and MacinTalkPro 2. Developers can use TTSM to interface to either engine, depending on their application requirements.
 MacinTalk 2 provides a basic level of text-to-speech capability, and uses relatively little of the Macintosh system memory (150K). Developers of applications that support Apple's earlier text-to- speech technology, MacinTalk, are required to make only minor modifications to support MacinTalk 2.
 MacinTalkPro 2 provides high-quality voice output and sophisticated capabilities for text processing and interpreting speech context. For example, MacinTalkPro 2 pronounces "Dr." as "drive" or "doctor," depending on the context in which the abbreviation is used. MacinTalkPro 2 requires more system memory (ranging from 700K to 2.8 MB) than MacinTalk 2.
 Both MacinTalk 2 and MacinTalkPro 2 use concatenative text-to-speech technology. In this technology, speech is constructed by reassembling tiny sound fragments. This differs from the more common recorded text-to-speech, in which speech samples of words are prerecorded. Compared to recorded speech, concatenative text-to- speech offers dramatic memory savings (1000-to-1), flexibility, and shorter response time.
 Availability and Pricing
 The beta version of the PlainTalk Text-to-Speech Developer's Toolkit was shipped in July to 18,000 of Apple's developers on a developer CD that is distributed monthly. Final software will be distributed to the same developers in mid-September. For a worldwide license to redistribute MacinTalk 2 with their applications, developers will pay U.S. $1,000 per year. For a worldwide license to redistribute MacinTalkPro 2 with their applications, developers will pay U.S. $1,500 per year. (MacinTalkPro 2 is standard software on Apple's Macintosh Quadra 840AV and Macintosh Centris 660AV computers.)
 System Requirements
 MacinTalk 2 requires a Macintosh Plus or greater, running System 6.0.7 or later. MacinTalkPro 2 requires a Macintosh LC or greater, running System 7.
 Headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., Apple Computer Inc. develops, manufactures and markets computer systems for use in business, education, the home, science, engineering and government. A recognized pioneer and innovator in the personal computer industry, Apple does business in more than 120 countries. Apple's Macintosh computers and LaserWriter printers were ranked highest in user satisfaction among business users in recent studies by J.D. Power and Associates.
 NOTE: Apple, the Apple logo, and Macintosh, are registered trademarks, and System 7 and PlainTalk are trademarks of Apple Computer Inc.
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 /CONTACT: Nancy Morrison, 408-862-6200, or Cindy McCaffrey, 408-974-1578, both of Apple Computer/

CO: Apple Computer Inc. ST: California IN: CPR SU: PDT

TM -- SJ004 -- 8714 08/03/93 08:32 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 3, 1993

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