Ever since 1983 when Matthew Broderick's IMSAI 8080 began speaking out loud, we've dreamed of computers that can have conversations with us.

In iOS 9, Apple added the ability to synthesize speech using the high-quality 'Alex' voice. Sadly it's only available on US devices for now, but that's sure to change. Let's try it out:

guard let voice = AVSpeechSynthesisVoice(identifier: AVSpeechSynthesisVoiceIdentifierAlex) else { return }

let synth = AVSpeechSynthesizer()
synth.delegate = self

let utter = AVSpeechUtterance(string: "Would you like to play a game?")
utter.voice = voice


We start by making sure 'Alex' is available, then we make a new synthesizer. Next, we create an AVSpeechUtterance, and set it's voice. Then, we simply tell the synthesizer to speak! Very cool.

Even cooler, we can implement one of the optional functions of AVSpeechSynthesizerDelegate to get live progress callbacks as each word is spoken. Neat!

func speechSynthesizer(synthesizer: AVSpeechSynthesizer, willSpeakRangeOfSpeechString characterRange: NSRange, utterance: AVSpeechUtterance) {