Apple releases new voice technology

Productive voice recognition, long promised by the computer industry, has moved closer to fruition with the announcement of two new machines from Apple.Called the Quadra 840AV and the Centris 660AV, the two desktop machines are targetted at just about anyone who...

Productive voice recognition, long promised by the computer industry, has moved closer to fruition with the announcement of two new machines from Apple.

Called the Quadra 840AV and the Centris 660AV, the two desktop machines are targetted at just about anyone who uses a computer.

Both computers allow users to instruct the machine by voice to place a phone call or find a phone number, for example, use them as answering machines, send a fax directly, and use them in conjunction with camcorders.

They respond to ordinary speech by using two special processors developed by Motorola and at&t.

The Quadra is a suggested $5,950, and the Centris $2,590. These prices do not include the cost of a monitor for either machine.

Also new from Apple is Newton, a computer that might not theorize about gravity, but will do almost anything else.

Small enough to fit in the hand of your average pro basketball player, Newton does not have a keyboard but a special pen to write with directly onto a small screen.

Newton then translates the writing – accurately nine times out of 10 – into type.

Newton, which sells for a suggested $899, also combines an address file, memo pad, daytimer and calculator.