Writing to apple concerning speach synthisizers

iOS and iPadOS

I think lots of people (me included) are not completely satisfied with the choices of voice over voices available in our iphone devices. Personally, the best and only best voice for me is eliquence, I am considering about writing to apple about it just now. Interestingly, <a href="http://www.applevis.com/forum/ios-ios-app-discussion/my-feedback-apple-… already did that</a>, but yet no response from apple. I am wondering is it still worth writing to apple about these issues? When I found out android already allows eliquence, I am really considering switching to android but I am afraid my accessibility experience might be worse (no offense to android users). So what do you think? Will apple consider adding other voices like eliquence if we pushed them enough?



Submitted by Justin on Thursday, December 3, 2015

Apple won't add Eloquence to the speech lineup.Theyonly use natural sounding voices in their products, and I am personally fine with that. Plus eloquence is old tech, and not many devices excluding braille note takers and some screen reading software use eloquence. I just don't see this happening at all.

Submitted by Clare Page on Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hi! I totally agree with the above comment, especially as I personally prefer human-sounding voices to electronic-sounding ones anyway. Also, I think it is right to point out that Apple has increased the choice of available voices over the past few years anyway, such as adding Alex to 64-bit i-devices in IOS 8 and including the Siri voices for several languages in VoiceOver in IOS 9, so that hopefully increases the possibility of finding voices we're happy to work with. It's true that everyone has their own opinions about which voices are good and which aren't, but it's not practical to include every voice anyone might possibly like on every device, that's another good reason for Apple not putting Eloquence on i-devices, bearing in mind that for several languages, especially English, there is more than one voice to choose from anyway.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Thursday, December 3, 2015

There are plenty of voices to choose from on Apple. While I love using Eloquence with JAWS on my Windows machines, it is certainly far less human sounding than most, if not all, of the voices available from Apple already. Personally, I'd love to see some of the Ivona voices being used or, failing that, some of the Neospeech voices. However, quality wise, I believe Eloquence is a step back, and I highly doubt Apple wants to go that direction.

Submitted by Chris on Thursday, December 3, 2015


As I've said many times before, the logical thing for Apple to do is the exact same thing they did in OS X Lion and beyond. For those of you who don't know, you basically have a voice manager with a huge list of virtually all the currently available Vocalizer voices. You can check any combination of voices to download. You can also preview a voice so you know what it sounds like. In OS X Yosemite, Apple added the ability to delete a downloaded voice by unchecking it in the list. Apple has done a great job in terms of adding Alex and then the Siri voices to the available voices on the system. I think the next logical step is to add the same type of voice manager to iOS. I don't think this would be very difficult to do IMHO. As for other voices, I doubt it. Eloquence sounds very mechanical and robotic. It also hasn't been updated within the last 10 years or so. Eloquence only supports a handful of languages. I just want more Nuance voices to be added. Like I said, this really doesn't need to be an issue. I'm hoping this comes with iOS 10 since we have had voice updates every year since iOS 7.

Submitted by Toonhead on Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hi. I know my subject line might seem a bit snarky, but I sincerely don't mean it to. I say this because Elloquence is readily available on Android devices, as well as a bunch of other voice options...so if this is a huge thing for you, you might go that rout. I, personally, am ok with Samantha. I've tried Alex and most times that's ok too, but there are some situations where he actually spells out words instead of just saying them, and that gets on my nerves, lol! So, I stick to Samantha.

Submitted by Apple Khmer on Thursday, December 3, 2015

Apple simply won't add Eloquence to its choices of voices. It just doesn't make any sense fo tem to do that.

Submitted by splyt on Thursday, December 3, 2015

It does make sense to do that cinse VO users are in its almost interity blind people and blind people tend to want eloquence.

They won't do it because they do only what they want and it has been this way cinse VO was first created. Either this or the eloquebnce licensors are asking an insane price for the voices.

Eloquence is widely accepted by the VO users. To say that the so called krat voices are not accepted because for some folks they are hard to understand is ridiculous. To say that eloquence is only supporting some languages is correct but this is not a reazon to not implement it, because Alex for example is only available in the english language and it is available on Apple's products.
To say that eloquence isnt being updated is correct but this is not a valid point because a voice doesn't need to be updated if the spoken language is not updated. Eloquence is small, fast and again many people want to have it. Should Apple run a survey they would get to this point. In fact, if there were no demand for eloquence on mobile devices, it wouldn't be found in other mobile platforms. Apple knows that folks want it and they have choosen not to satisfy this requirement ... in the Apple eco system it is common to see Apple not doing stuff aparently to show their consumers that they have more power on their own products than the consumers do .... and this seens to be the case of this issue.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Thursday, December 3, 2015

This is one blind person who does not tend to want eloquence.

Submitted by AppleVis on Thursday, December 3, 2015

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hello MorbidCode,

We would absolutely recommend writing to Apple if you have an issue or feature request that is important to you. Accessibility@apple.com is the best place to send any feedback, as this ensures that your feedback goes directly to a member of Apple's Accessibility Team.

Submitted by Toonhead on Friday, December 4, 2015

There may be a jailbreaking tweak for eloquence... I'm not sure but I know other folks have been able to put different voices on their phones through jb tweaks. I know we have some jb experts on here so if you're reading this, speak up and let us know if this is indeed possible.

I agree that as you said, "Eloquence sounds very mechanical and robotic. It also hasn't been updated within the last 10 years or so."
While that is true, I found that eloquence pronounces words a lot better than many other voices out there, even vocalizer. And I don't think there is a more responsive voice than eloquence. Maybe that's just me, but I find eloquence really great specially when reading long articles.

Another thing I don't like about current voice over voices is the lack of intonations when reading <a href="http://www.applevis.com/forum/ios-ios-app-discussion/reading-problem-vo… this example</a>

Speaking of old, there must be a reason why people still like it even though it's over 10 years ago.

Submitted by morbidCode on Friday, December 4, 2015

In reply to by Toonhead

I'm looking for topics like that in this forum yesterday. I can't seem to find any thread about getting mor voices by JB.

Submitted by morbidCode on Friday, December 4, 2015

To those saying eloquence is old, I certainly agree, but it doesn't mean it's not the best voice for many of us.

Submitted by Andy B. on Friday, December 4, 2015

Eliquence has been around for ever. It is out of date, doesn't support many languages, and is everything already mentioned in this thread. Let's look at this from a business point of view.
Nuance creates TTS voices. 10 years ago, Eliquence was top of the line. Today, it is not. If you were the CEO, your primary interest is to drop it from your portfolio. Why? It will be more expensive to keep up with, you can't fix bugs anymore, and it is technology of history. They are better off maintaining their new voices. In fact, they dropped support for the Realspeak voices as well. Why doesn't anyone demand those back?
Earlier last year, Freedom Scientific started buying the rights to use Vocalizer voices. Since Nuance dropped support for Vocalizer (original voices), everyone must use the new Vocalizer Expressive voices. In a podcast about the upcoming release of JAWS 16, Freedom Scientific was asked if they would ever drop support for Eliquence. The direct and immediate answer was no. However, there would be specific requirements that would force them to drop support for it. (1) Nuance revokes the 10 year old lisence, (2) Windows refuses to support older TTS technology, and (3) JAWS internals change in such a way that Eliquence is not possible. Even though plans for Eliquence won't change right now, FS still has the problem in the back of their mind.
Considering this, Apple doesn't want any lingering technology that is 10 years old on any of their devices. If FS has to consider the possibility of dropping it, why would Apple pick it up?
Apple does the same thing Nuance and any other technology maker does... When it is considered old by the target market, junk it and create something new. If you asked Apple for legal rights to use OSX 10.4, which as been retired, would you expect them to give you the rights for a handful of people? Probably not. If in today's cellphone market, you requested the ability to purchase 100 IPhone 4s phones at a discounted rate because those people were emotionally attached to their phone, would you expect Apple to spend at least $1 million a year to maintain the 4s line? Probably not. Why? The hardware profile can't be updated, current demands for processing power increases, and Apple can't force IOS 9.1 to reliably work on it anymore. Why not improve IOS 7 or 8? They can't. The only thing left for them is to fix bugs and security problems. Besides, why would you want to be left behind in the technology market?
In fact, Microsoft does the same thing Apple and everyone else does. Once you have two sellable versions of Windows, junk the previous ones and spend your money working on the current ones. You can't legally purchase Windows 7 unless a warehouse still has them in stock. Otherwise it is used. Many people want Windows 7 back. Do you think Microsoft will get the hint and give it back to the users? Probably not. Why? This is a repeatable store. No one wants to maintain older technology because (1) you can't do anything with it anymore and (2) it is too expensive to keep maintained. There are hacks that allow NVDA to use Eliquence. However, it is illegal. In either case, putting Eliquence out there for Idevices and MACs is not a proper business choice.

Submitted by Joseph on Saturday, December 5, 2015

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Submitted by splyt on Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Misinformation is always something so good .....

There are at least two legal ways of using eloquence on NVDA, using CodeFactory SAPI 5 product or codeFactory NVDA ADDOM containing eloquence and real speech both for nuance.
These are two new productts and CodeFactory released eloquence for Android some time ago, something being extensivekly used by many blind users.

Should the use of that old technology have been so bad, why would people still use it and why would any company sell it?

Again, Apple does not implement eloquence because they do not want. As languages do not change, tts do not need to be update.

You don't like old techniology? Go to any finanncial company and kindly suggest they drop their old mainframes into garbage .... they will correctly smile at your face.

What makes technology old is its failure of acumplishing the tasks they need to acumplish, either because of security or instability issues that need modern hardware or other requirements to be implemented or because of users not interested on it anymore. Eloquence does not observe such conditions .... it works, it is demanded and it does not need to be updated because it solves the kind of problem it is being designed to solve very well without further needs of updates meaning that it does not cost anything to be maintained.

If it doesn't cost nothing to maintain, it is highly demanded by screen reader users and it is fast and stable, it can not be classified as old technology and therefore it must be made available and that's not me who is saying that, the market is because there is availability on one of the main platforms.

Apple has the right to do whatever it wants with its products. I will not say they are right or wrong but I will not point the fingers to nobody but Apple for not making this product available.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I agree. I to am loosing my hearing and it's not because I spend my night in a night club. Lol! But at faster speech eloquence tends to mumble a lot. And remember nuance did did at first say no to eloquence, and as of one of the latest 2015 snaps you can no longer use the eloquence driver for nvda, forcing people to not upgrade who use the driver.

For me the later voices such as the one I'm using now is quite easy to understand.

Take care to all.