While the software will continue to function, there will be no future updates or support, meaning Colin and others who have come to depend on Dragon for everyday activities will have to find another way to get things done. El Reg contacted Nuance for comment on the matter, but a spokesperson had only the PR boilerplate to offer.
After much consideration, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue the Dragon Professional Individual for Mac line-up," the statement reads. In other words, the clock is ticking for anyone who relies on Dragon for Mac to either find a new app or migrate to Windows. Which leads us to the next part of the story. It would be one thing if the other options for Mac users could match Nuance's now-discontinued offering. Unfortunately, Hughes tells us, there isn't anything close to Dragon at the moment.
That leaves users with the unenviable choice of either making do with an inferior product or dropping their Macs in favor of Windows, where Nuance still supports Dragon Professional.
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It is no secret that Apple does not play well with others and the strict limits it places with its APIs have prevented developers from making full use of hardware the way they can on other platforms. Many an Android developer, for example, has had to cut features from the iOS version of their app due to Apple simply not granting access to specific components.
While wanting to keep control of what happens on their platform is perfectly understandable, Hughes argues that Apple should also take it upon themselves to pick up where Nuance left off and develop a better set of access and dictation tools for disabled users. Hughes says that, eventually, he does believe someone, be it Apple or Google, will step up and offer better voice controls and dictation.
Unfortunately, in the meantime he and other users are tied to the business decisions of the few companies, such as Nuance, who offer a usable product. Perhaps most frustrating is that the technology to do voice control properly is already here. Apple and others have made a point of working it into their hardware demos, but the involvement ends there, and when it can't be used to showcase a new product, speech recognition seems to get tossed aside.
Sponsored: Serverless Computing London - Nov The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Dragon Dictation makes it possible to transform voice to text and put your thoughts down anywhere anytime. All you need is the app installed on Windows, Mac, iPhone or Android phone and your voice. The one we observed is Dragon Dictation.
At the same time you may publish the dictated text on Twitter, send a message or an email with it. If you want to change the language, go to Settings and choose the right one there. You can set other features like name recognition here. Whether the weather is right, or whether the weather is not. Nuance abandoned the Mac version once before, and a company named Mac Speech filled the void for a few years.
Then Nuance purchased Mac Speech and their Mac product was reborn.
Mountain Lion Dictation versus Dragon Dictate | Macworld
But I agree, it is incumbent on Apple to fill the void now. MacOS is more widely used than it used to be and many more persons with disabilities have come to depend on it. As someone with a visual disability, I lost patience with Apple when they abandoned colored and custom icons in the Finder window sidebar in Lion. For some years there was a hack that could restore those colors and icons, but Apple killed that in El Capitan by abandoning the supporting technologies.
Nor is the developer interested in expanding his product, despite my requests that he do so. To my mind, the whole point of the Finder window sidebar is as an aid to navigation, and the loss of color was a serious blow to that objective. But Apple has been fixated on their Goth interface since before Steve Jobs died, and it seems they continue to find their ugly design meme more important than usability or accessibility. Accessibility is clearly not one of their priorities, despite some other features that assist in that regard. In my case, I reverse my screen, as now, so that I see white text on a black background, which is, for me, easier to read.
He just wanted to be able to dictate e-mails and such. Sad to say, Apple no longer caters to users, as they once did. As with many big, successful companies, their leadership is far removed from their user base, and hubris has set in. Who knows when, if ever, they will wake up.
His tolerance for mediocrity in quality control is monumental. And it would, as well, be budget dependent. How much Windows software can you afford to buy to replace you Mac apps? Not ideal, especially in light of the fact that many disabled persons live on a low income and cannot, in fact, afford a Cadillac solution, such as switching to a Windows PC, in virtualization or otherwise. Considering that Apple already licenses Nuance speech recognition IP, it might be possible for Apple to soup up their dictation system with features found in Dragon.
Dragon Dictation for iPhone, Android, Mac, Windows
This situation is part of a contentious history between Apple and Dragon going back to when Dragon owned and developed their own software. There never have been superior alternatives to Dragon, making it something of a monopoly in the business. In , a Dragon representative appeared on stage with Steve Jobs announcing NaturallySpeaking was at last coming to the Mac. Then Dragon reneged on the promise. That Nuance, who bought Dragon, was allowed to also buy MacSpeech in was disturbing, further consolidating the IP monopoly.
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It would be terrific if Apple took up the mantle again and developed new speech recognition. But it could happen! I know this because I used the program. I also used both these products.
Set up Dictation
The history of Nuance has been reported as the company being engaged in patent trolling, a proliferation of competitor acquisitions, federal investigations for a monopoly, and other questionable behavior. Given this history, their corporate culture and behaviour becomes more understandable. Nuance is the speech recognition engine for Siri as well which makes it highly likely that it is also the engine for Mac speech recognition. It was relatively soon, a few years, after that switch that Nuance purchased MacSpeech.
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Nuance did retain much of the MacSpeech team for a while, but I suspect most of them have left by now. I wish to thank you all for the support and encouragement and slaps upside the head when we needed it that you have given MacSpeech over the last decade. Some of you even chose to participate formally as stockholders in the company.
follow I would like to summarize a tiny bit of the history that led to this point - the point of leaving Nuance and letting the new parent company take charge. I was part of the team at Articulate Systems that delivered the only discrete dictation product for the Macintosh, a product called PowerSecretary, back in the early s. I founded MacSpeech later that decade when interest in the Macintosh platform was waning.
Over the next decade we all nurtured the market and made it grow to the point where the leader in the speech recognition industry, Nuance, took an interest in the Macintosh market and acquired MacSpeech. The integration of MacSpeech and its products into Nuance and their product family was essentially completed with the recent introduction of Dragon Dictate 2.
The Macintosh community now has a world class dictation product with the solid team from MacSpeech behind it and big company resources to support them. I hope you will join me in applauding and supporting their efforts as they continue to refine the products and strive to meet your needs and desires in the years ahead. If you have suggestions, I welcome your input. I relish opportunities where giants fear to tread. A big company like Apple will only take notice if there numbers to support the feature.