Earlier this year, Apple announced new Spoken Interface functionality, intended for those users who have difficulties using standard computer input and display technologies. This new functionality is to be included in an upcoming major revision to Mac OS X.
On Wednesday, some users who filled out Apple's Spoken Interface questionnaire were invited to download and install the Preview version of the Spoken Interface software. According to the email notification:
The Mac OS X spoken interface provides an additional way to use your Macintosh computer that does not require using a mouse or seeing the screen. In addition to speaking the contents of documents, the spoken interface speaks a description of all the activities taking place on the computer, such as which applications are running, how many windows are open, and much more. You can also control your computer using only the keyboard.
This preview release of the spoken interface provides you with an opportunity to explore this technology before it is built into the Mac OS X operating system. After installing the software, you'll be able to learn about and explore the features of the spoken interface before its general release.
Please note that the software contained in this preview is not feature complete and some features may not work as expected. While Apple has worked hard to make this preview release reliable you should only install the spoken interface software on a Mac that is not critical to your work and regularly back up your important files and information.
Cautions before installing If you are one of those users who has been invited to download the Preview, be sure to consider the following note, included in the email:
"IMPORTANT! You cannot remove the spoken interface preview software after you install it. To restore your computer to its original condition, you must completely erase the contents of your computer's hard disk and then reinstall Mac OS X and any additional software or files. Please consider this carefully before installing this software."
Problems downloading The Preview download page requires, for verification purposes, that you provide the email address to which the download invitation was sent. When the page was initially made available Wednesday morning, the email text field would accept a maximum of 25 characters; if a user had a longer email address, it was cut off and the user was not allowed to download the Preview. MacFixIt notified Apple of this issue early that morning, and as of Wednesday evening it appears to have been corrected. If you originally were unable to download the Preview due to this bug, try again today.