back to article Modest Apple talks up these 'incredible' advances in iOS

Apple on Tuesday previewed several accessibility features planned for future operating system updates, including a way to have its text-to-speech app respond in the user's voice. CEO Tim Cook described the forthcoming features as "incredible," a word which can be found more than 500 times in Apple press releases. The features …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank you

    I generally have no issue with Apple products, but you've picked up on the thing that seriously irritates me: the spectacularly limited vocabulary when they present something.

    All these people cannot be other than 'excited' and it's all 'incredible' - they seriously need to buy the book "Spunk and Bite" by the late Arthur "Art" Plotnik or at a minimum start to consult a thesaurus instead of making it clear they're mostly glorified bookkepers. Art is sadly no longer with us, but his books are still worth your time. He would observe that for people who have freedom of expression they most certainly don't exercise it much.

    It's exactly the near jaw dislocating jawn inducing approach that ensures I no longer bother to watch their presentations. If it genuinely is exciting I'm sure I'll read it in the press afterwards..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thank you

      My friends and I have long assumed it’s some kind of “in joke” at Apple.

      We watch those conferences, where they’ll show off the new iPhone, or whatever.

      At first I used to find it a bit awkward how often they’d use words like incredible, and beautiful, and really overemphasise the words as they say them. Especially their software guy, Craig something.

      But then I decided there’s some behind the scenes game, where they challenge each other to say the words, and over express them, as often as possible.

      More recently they’ve gone even more ott, having those little intros where Craig will be doing superhuman things or making him out to be incredibly cool…. I think it’s all just a bit tongue in cheek.

      After all, they could just invoke Siri and ask for synonyms for incredible!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thank you

        I heard that was once a competition amongst IBM sales people: how often they could drop the word 'hamster' into a presentation and get away with it. I never heard what the topscore was, though, so I'd welcome any updates.

        As for synonyms, good point - turns out it has quite a few..

    2. 43300 Silver badge

      Re: Thank you

      Do they still use 'magical' too? Seem to recall that used to be a favourite.

      I could listen to one, but afraid the curiosity level isn't high enough to sit through all that contrived, faux-breathless nonsense...

  2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge


    incrediblePhone, incrediblePad, incredibleOS, incredibleMac

  3. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Respond in your own voice?!

    Am I the only one who always thinks listening to their own voice on some recording sounds absolutely weird?

    Having Siri or Maps talk me, sounding like me, would make me turn my iPhone into an iProjectile in no time at all.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Respond in your own voice?!

      It isn't intended to be something like Siri speaking as yourself, it an accessibility feature intended for people who have difficulty speaking due to age or injury. If you are still able to talk well enough for your phone to understand you, you could talk into it during a phone or Facetime call and the phone will translate your speech to text, and then translate the text back to your "own voice" to the person you are talking with and they'll hear you in the voice that's familiar to them - the voice that you associate with yourself.

      The limitation is that you have to be able to train your phone in your voice BEFORE you need it so it wouldn't work in all cases. i.e. if you know you were going to have throat surgery you would have advance warning, if you can speak in your "own voice" with considerable effort/pain but only for short periods of time you could train your phone but if you've already lost the ability to speak in your own voice you might have to settle for however you are speaking now. If you're progressively losing your voice at least you'd be able to speak in a voice that doesn't continue to degrade further.

      You could also use it if you don't have the ability to speak at all anymore by typing in what you want to say, but again same limitation. I wonder if the "training" process requires you to say particular phrases or if you'd be able to play old recordings of yourself if you had them? That would solve the problem of "many of the people who need this can't speak in their own voice to train it".

      Obviously this will be useful for a minority of people and most of us will never need it, but I imagine the people it is useful for will really appreciate it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Respond in your own voice?!

        When it comes to that, Apple has been quite at the front of support for disabilities for a while - straight from bootup. I haven't looked if their websites are quite conform (so a reader can read it out) but it would not surprise me.

        Meeting people who have conquered those barriers makes you quite aware how many there are, so I made it a matter of default to ensure the websites we will set up are reader compatible. I'm not quite there yet with how to convert a site into OpenDyslexic font on demand for people that need it because it takes more than just a font to help people read (you also need to remove distractions and provide a structure), but it's on my list. It may not be my job, but I do think it's a responsibility we have (another reason why I'm no fan of complex, ever changing UIs that only exist to sell,).

        By way of illustration of just how long I've been doing that: I started that in the days of the Psion Organiser (OK, OK, I'll add the 'II' to that for the pedants, the 'I' was barely usable). I met someone at a user group in those days who was not just using it but even programming it while having to "read" the screen with a reader that translated that into moving pins so he could feel the display with his fingers (using the two line version as resolution was naturally quite coarse). That tour de force left me very impressed, but also very aware that not everyone can use IT so easily, and it's easily forgotten (although it is technically law that you have to facilitate that access in many countries, but that doesn't mean people actually even consider it).

        Thanks for the reminder :)

      2. Alan_Peery

        Re: Respond in your own voice?!

        It sounds very useful for an assistive device.

        It also sounds incredibly useful for social engineering attacks.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Respond in your own voice?!

          How could it be used for social engineering, since you have to teach your own phone your own voice? OK if it works from recordings you could teach it someone else's voice, but from what I've read about this elsewhere you have to spend about 15 minutes teaching it your voice by reading it what it tells you to read - i.e. you can't use past recordings of your (or someone else's) voice.

          So unless I can fool you into reading me 15 minutes worth of stuff into my phone I can't teach it your voice and use it for social engineering masquerading as you.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Respond in your own voice?!

          It might be worth pointing out that there are already a number of commercial services that will duplicate someone's voice based on recordings, and probably open-source implementations as well.

          What (if anything) is noteworthy here is that Apple are introducing this as an accessibility feature. (I mean the voice imitation specifically; obviously text-to-speech can be an accessibility feature.) Personally if I needed text-to-speech I would very much not want it to sound like me, but no doubt there are those who feel differently about it.

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Respond in your own voice?!

        If I lost my ability to speak for some reason, a text-to-speech device would be invaluable. The last thing in the world that I'd want, though, is to have it use some simulacrum of my (former) voice. That's just ... ugh. Horrible.

        And as a member of the audience for such a thing I wouldn't like it either, though I'd defer to the wishes of the user.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Respond in your own voice?!

      I plan on using my wife’s voice. I can’t wait to hear my wife say “Yes, doing that” when I ask for something.

      1. ICL1900-G3

        Re: Respond in your own voice?!

        For once, an anonymous post is justified!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Respond in your own voice?!

        I always set my TomTom GPS to a female voice, makes it easier to ignore when I need my attention on the road.


  4. Korev Silver badge

    I do appreciate the Register's snark (which has started to put in a welcome return), but these updates will be huge (maybe even incredible) for the people who need them. Maybe save the sarcasm for some other blockAIchain bollocks.

  5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Marketing Droid Speak - part 201

    Emphasize one word in a presentation. People will concentrate on that and ignore most of the dross that goes along with it.

    [see Icon]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Marketing Droid Speak - part 201

      The Guy Kawasaki 10//20/30 rule is IMHo better: 10 slides, 20 minutes, minimum 30 point font - it forces you to focus on what you really want to say.

      That's one of the reasons Apple's Keynote is so much better than Powerpoint: it concentrates on the message you're trying to convey, not on your ability to use the many bells and whistles Microsoft stuffed their application with. You can always spot the beginners by the amount of gadgetry they added to the core message, thus often drowning it.

      On that topic, rule 2 is that if you have an hour to present something, that doesn't mean you have an hour for a slide pack. It's far smarter to make it short and snappy and then engage in dialogue and answer questions. Unless you're hiding something, respecting your audience enough to expect them to think for themselves is a sign of confidence.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are the updates / patches that are pushed out recently incredible too?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They are. I may be the lucky one but I have now also been running betas on one machine and one phone for at least two years, and even those are in general quite solid.

      BTW, running iOS betas also screws up spyware persistence lfor things like Pegasus. The only problem is that the one crash I had triggers the spyware scanner in iMazing in issuing an alert for a suspicious root level file ("Found a potentially suspicious '' file in root domain"), but that's known as a false positive.

      Which reminds me, I need to send them a heads up about this, I keep forgetting.

  7. Doogie Howser MD

    Flat innovation curve

    This article is timely for me as I took delivery of a new iPhone 14 yesterday to replace the 12 I had on my old contract. Needless to say it looks exactly the same (the same case and screen protector fits the 14!) and the software is the same. Innovation in mobile phones flat lined years ago and it's no great surprise that people are keeping hold of their handsets for longer now. I think I'll stick with the 14 longer than my current 2 year upgrade cycle, as long as I keep getting software updates and the handset holds a reasonable charge, the rest I don't care about.

    There's nothing "amazing" or "incredible" about anything in this market, just rehashing the same old shit from years ago.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Flat innovation curve

      The 14 is the same phone as the 12.

      You should have got the 14 Pro (or waited for the 15). That model has all the new features.

  8. Dave559 Silver badge

    "the [sic] National Disability Rights Network"

    "the [sic] National Disability Rights Network"

    Error: Country descriptor missing.

    There are around 200 countries in the world, and The Register is read in a not insignificant number of them, and Apple products used in most or all of them.

    But as there is only one country [1] small-minded and egotistical enough to regularly forget that other countries do exist and that it is publishing for a worldwide anglophone audience, I guess that, by a process of deduction, we can work out which country that organisation is based in. However, appropriate clarification should always be added by journalists when writing, in order to avoid looking parochial.

    [1] Even the UK comes some way behind that other country in this regard…

    1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Re: "the [sic] National Disability Rights Network"

      Re. [1] Even the UK comes some way behind that other country in this regard…

      Even? I've never thought the UK forgets other countries exist. We [*] do seem to hate them, and our government certainly blames them for it's failures, but we acknowledge they are there..

      [*]. The Brexiters at least, I voted remain. I like other countries.

  9. Eponymous Bastard


    "Amazing" was the word uttered by the self-checkout supervisor at my local Tesco this week when I presented them with the receipt to prove that I had "actually" paid for a bottle of vodka which required the security cap to be removed to avoid the potential embarrassment of the store's security guard from apprehending me as I left the store and the alarm sounded.

    I was like well relieved innit.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Amazing

      Yes, I've encountered people for whom "amazing" is simply some sort of mild acknowledgement of the most trivial events. What dramatic lives they must lead, with every moment a flood of overwhelming emotion.

  10. nijam Silver badge

    As far as I'm concerned, they may as will intend the original meaning of the word, rather than what it's now come to mean.

  11. iron Silver badge

    > “Accessibility is part of everything we do at Apple,”

    Bullshit. My test iPhone 11 has no off button. Turning it off requires pressing two buttons on different sides of the phone, how is that easy for people with motor difficulties?

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      You don't have to use the buttons

      You can tell Siri to turn off your phone, and there is also a shutdown option in the Settings menu.

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