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Subject: Re: A rather interesting patent from Apple

Re: A rather interesting patent from Apple

From: Andrew Hart <>
Date: Fri, 05 May 2006 10:39:02 -0400

But other devices do predate the original application. Examples
include the Parrot Voicemate and Voice Diary PDA's for blind folks,
both of which use prerecordded clips for voicing their menu
selections. The Voicemate is made by Parrot S,A., a French
company. There Web site seems to be at The
Voice Diary and later models are made by an Israeli company, Voice
Diary Inc. See Early generations of both
devices were available and being sold in 1998 and perhaps even earlier.

Most devices for blind people use TTS, but due to limited memory,
battery capacity and CPU power, these two PDA's actually do use
prerecorded clips. The Voice Diary even has different language files
that can be downloaded and flashed to the unit. I suspect the
Voicemate has a similar feature.

I don't know what impact this has on a US Patent. It probably means
nothing since I don't know of a hand-held device manufactured in the
States that uses voiced menus in this way, but devices made by non-US
companies and which have voiced menus have been available in the
United States for well over ten years. Heck, even those little
talking clocks sold at Radioshack virtually fit the model, except
that they use tones rather than recorded speech to indicate where the
user is. Other talking products, even up to 15 years ago used
talking menus. I recall there being a talking VCR--though I don't
recall the brand or model at the moment. More recently, LG have
manufactured a microwave oven with talking menus. I don't believe
that any of these examples actually use TTS to generate speech in
real time. Of course, I am happy to be corrected if I am in error.

Nevertheless, I don't know of any hand-held device with voiced menus
(as opposed to TTS-generated talking menus) manufactured in the
States, despite the fact that products such as those mentioned above
have been sold in the US for years. So, this means that Apple's US
Patent could be successful. Mind you, I know next to nothing about
patents and such. There are folks on the list who no infinitely more
and it'd be interesting to hear their take on the subject.


At 05:54 05-05-2006, you wrote:
>Linus Nielsen Feltzing wrote:
> > John Bauman wrote:
> >
> >> Here's a new patent that Apple just received that I think people here
> >> (especially blind users) might find interesting:
> >>
> >
> >
> > It's especially interesting, since Rockbox implemented Voice UI in early
> > 2004, while the patent was filed in september 2004.
> >
> > Perhaps even more amusing is that the Rockbox voice UI works on iPod
> > even before Apple. :-)
>Yes, but Apple also filed another patent in July 2003 (before Rockbox's
>implementation) for a general Voice UI (i.e. voiced menu entries):
>This is mentioned in paragaph [0001] of the above patent application -
>that original patent is here:
>So whilst I'm sure prior art exists, Rockbox doesn't predate the initial
>patent application, just the extension to pre-generate voice clips based
>on filenames/tags.
Received on 2006-05-05

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