A new European Filing by Apple published yesterday reveals an update to the iOS "Notes" app. Not being overly familiar with the Notes application makes it difficult to assess the full extent of the upgrades that could be coming to Notes in the future. However, one option appears to illustrate a text-to-text conversion option which would be great for translations. For those wanting to further investigate the finer points of this patent could do so here. One of the current features of the "Notes" app is a "Speak" menu option which isn't a "standard" feature on Notes. Average iDevice owners would never know that this option even exists. Intuitive it isn't. Our report walks you through the steps that will turn on this feature if you'd like that option available to you in the future, whether you're disabled or not.
A Summary of Apple's Invention
In the future, Apple's current invention will enable a user to select, from among multiple languages, a language to be used for performing text-to-speech conversion.
In some embodiments, multiple languages may be displayed to the user. The user may then select a particular language to be used from the multiple languages. The user -selected language may then be used to generate speech for text to be converted to speech.
In some embodiments, upon determining that multiple languages are eligible to perform text-to-speech conversion for a portion of text, the multiple languages may be displayed to the user. The user may then select a particular language to be used from the multiple languages. When speech is generated for the text, the portion of text may be converted to speech in the user-selected language.
In some embodiments, the text to be converted to speech is analyzed using one or more analysis criteria. Based upon the analysis, one or more languages may be determined as applicable for converting the text to speech. In some instances, the analysis may yield multiple languages as being applicable for the same portion of text. In this scenario, the multiple languages may be output to the user. The user may then select a particular language from the multiple languages. The portion of text is then converted to speech in the user selected language using a language synthesizer corresponding to the user-selected language.
The portion of text for which multiple languages may be identified as possible candidates may be the entire text that is to be converted to speech or a subset of the text. A subset of the text may be, for example, without limitations, one or more characters within the text, one or more words within the text, one or more sentences within the text, and the like.
In some embodiments, analysis of the text to identify the one or more languages to be used to convert the text to speech may be based upon various criteria. Examples of criteria can include, without limitation, one or more loaded keyboards, one or more tags associated with the text, one or more languages identified by a language analysis tool upon analysis of the text to be converted to speech, application-specific data (e.g., domain information for a website hosting a webpage, sender's phone number for a messaging application), character encoding information (e.g., Unicode information) associated with one or more characters in the text, one or more user preferences (e.g., language or locale preferences), user history information (e.g., previous user language selections for text-to-speech conversion), a source of the text, country code top-level domain information associated with the text, global positioning system (GPS) information (e.g., identifying the location of the user or user device), and the like. Various combinations of these criteria are used in various embodiments to identify one or more languages to be used to convert the text to speech.
In some embodiments, for text including multiple languages, the language synthesizer used for performing text-to-speech conversion is automatically switched for the different languages. In some embodiments, the text may be processed character-by-character and a language determined to be used for converting the character to speech. Ranges of characters may be identified in the text to be converted to speech, each range associated with a language. When the text is converted to speech, each range portion is converted to speech using the language synthesizer corresponding to the language associated with that range.
This enables language synthesizers to be automatically switched during text-to-speech conversion to facilitate conversion of the text to speech.
In some embodiments, the text-to-speech conversion may be provided as a web based or cloud service or under a Software as a Service (SaaS) model.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 depicts a simplified flowchart depicting a method for performing text-to speech conversion.
How to Get the "Speak" Menu Option to Appear as an Option in Notes
Below you'll note that one of the menu options in Apple's "Notes" app is "Speak." This isn't a standard option and you wouldn't even know that this option exists unless you bothered to read about it somewhere on an Accessibility webpage that most don't read.
Apple should offer this menu option as standard to give users the option to use it or not. When tapping on the "Speak" Option Apple could use a pop-up menu asking if users want to turn on this option and provide a walk though. That's not complicated. Being that Apple doesn't provide that option, we walk you through the process to have the "Speak" menu option available to you in the future.
Apple's patent figure FIG. 5 below illustrates a paragraph in English with the conversion made to a Chinese dialect. It would appear that it's something like Google's Translation app. I happen to use that app every day and having such an app on my iPad would be great. Whether this is an angle Apple is thinking of for Notes in the future is unknown at this time, but the patent figure is strongly suggesting a text-to-text option. A feature that's unavailable today.
Apple's European filing was officially published yesterday, September 12, 2013 and originally filed internationally on April 03, 2013.
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