||In a scene only somewhat less eerie than the disembodied head of Bill Gates floating over Steve Jobs' shoulder at Macworld two years ago, IBM executives under the IBM logo on the screen demonstrated the Mac version of IBM's voice recognition technology at Wednesday's keynote, ViaVoice.
ViaVoice is known to many from the IBM commercials, "I talk, it types." In a flawless demonstration that had the crowd roaring by the end, IBM showed that ViaVoice will soon be ready for prime time on the Mac OS.
IBM representatives later in the day gave The Mac Observer a personal demonstration, and it was no less impressive. The system has a one hour training period required, allowing the software to "learn" the vocal subtleties of each user. The software was shown to record speech, including paragraph breaks and punctuation, and allowing the recorded text to be exported to any other text editing program, like the popular Microsoft Word.
ViaVoice is expected to be ready and available by the holiday shopping season. The package will include the ViaVoice software, and a microphone headset in the "frost" color on all new Macintosh computers. System requirements at this point are somewhat steep; G3/233, MacOS 8, and 48MB RAM. However, IBM officials hope to have the RAM requirement down to 32MB by the time the software ships. The whole package will retail for less than $100.00.