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This magical new app is an AI Ron Burgundy for your phone

the ElevenLabs reader app on an iPhone

Even as OpenAI delays its text to speech feature for ChatGPT, AI audio startup ElevenLabs released its Reader app for iOS on Wednesday, a model that promises to read aloud the words from virtually any content source, including news articles, PDFs, ePubs, and newsletters — even paste-in web links.

Today we’re launching the ElevenLabs iOS app!

It lets you listen to any article, book, or doc using our AI generated voices.

Check it out 🚀

— Ammaar Reshi (@ammaar) June 25, 2024

Users will be able to select from a library of “high quality, human-like voices,” to listen to and will be able to control how quickly the AI-modulated voice reads text back to them. The Reader app is available on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch (anything running iOS and iPadOS 15 or later) for users in the U.S., U.K., and Canada to start. The company plans to release the software in the E.U. “in a couple weeks” around July 11. An Android version is currently in the works, and the company is offering a waitlist for interested users.

ElevenLabs is already considering updates for the service, including offline playback, RSS feed access, AI summarization, and the ability to share snippets with friends. The company is also looking to expand the spoken languages to all 29 tongues supported by its multilingual model.

“Creating best in class AI audio models is not enough,” ElevenLabs’ Wednesday announcement reads. “Creators need tools through which they can create. And consumers need interfaces through which they can consume audio.” The company will eventually begin charging for the service (given that its website states the first three months of usage are free) though there’s no word yet on what that subscription could cost.

ElevenLabs’ AI generated voice models are trained on public domain data, data acquired in agreements with commercial partners, and publicly available data, per a previous Digital Trends report. With them, the company is able to offer a variety of services, from dubbing and automatic translation to voice cloning and automatic narration — even generating AI voices for NPCs built on the Unreal Engine.

Andrew Tarantola
Andrew has spent more than a decade reporting on emerging technologies ranging from robotics and machine learning to space…
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