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Subject: RE: A rather interesting patent from Apple

RE: A rather interesting patent from Apple

From: Barrett, Don <>
Date: Fri, 5 May 2006 13:38:28 -0400

For a really good treatment of the subject, see the blog at

Don Barrett
Section 508 Coordinator
U.S. Department of Education

-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Andrew Hart
Sent: Friday, May 05, 2006 10:39 AM
To: Rockbox
Subject: Re: A rather interesting patent from Apple

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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