Steve Jobs Voiceprint AnnouncementSource: iMore

What you need to know

  • Steve Jobs announced Mac OS 9's Voiceprint feature on-stage.
  • But the feature barely worked when people tried it.
  • This video shows just how clunky it was.

There are some features from old Macs that I've heard of but never seen. Voiceprint is one of those features. It was released alongside Mac OS 9 and the theory was a good one. Nobody wants to remember passwords, so why not have them speak into a computer and authenticate that way? Sounds aces, right?

Well, this was back in 1999 and technology wasn't quite where it is today. So the result was something that barely worked. And just setting it up was an experience that might just have been enough to put people off Macs for life.

You can see why in this great new video from the pied piper of old Macs, Stephen Hacket. He shows Mac OS 9 running on an old iBook and boy is it painful to see Voiceprint being used.

Ignore the choppy video – that's because Hacket had to VNC into the iBook from a Mac Pro just so he could record the screen.

What makes this particularly interesting to me is the fact that I can use similar technology, with the exact same "my voice is my password" phrase to access my bank's telephone banking. And it works fairly well.

The magic of 20 years of technology advancement, I suppose. Maybe we'll get it back onto a Mac someday.