ElevenLabs launches iOS app that turns ‘any’ text into audio narration with AI

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If you’ve ever started reading an article on your iPhone only to have to drive somewhere, walk, bike, do chores, or otherwise take your eyes off the screen — ElevenLabs has an app for you.

The AI audio creation company founded by former Palantir engineers today launched its first iOS app, “ElevenLabs Reader: AI Audio.”

Unlike the full ElevenLabs website which contains a variety of different AI models and features including text-to-speech, converting speech into other voices and languages, AI dubbing, and AI sound effects, the new ElevenLabs iOS app is more narrowly tailored and focused specifically on converting text files or links from the web into audio narration that the user can listen to while on the go, or doing something else with their eyes and hands, e.g. barbecuing, making dinner, putting away the dishes, etc.

Initially, this text-to-speech functionality will only be available in English on the app, though a pop over screen suggests that the full 29+ languages ElevenLabs supports on the web will also be making their way to its iOS Reader app soon.

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Tapping the soundwave icon in the left icon allows the user to choose from 11 (natch) different voices and accents, from male to female, American to Austrian to British English.

Uploading a PDF file with visuals and graphics from my iOS Files app to the ElevenLabs iOS Reader app took a few seconds in my testing, and the app stripped out all the visuals, displaying only text. It also had some issues with formatting that made the narration slightly award — pausing at inopportune moments to the line breaks.

I also encountered a couple random error messages and failures to convert text to audio in my brief testing.

However, the app is brand new and will no doubt be improved rapidly. And the actual functionality of AI voiceover narration was surprisingly fluid overall and incredibly accurate and compelling. It even worked on VentureBeat articles and a full novel manuscript of 300+ pages.

One big question is whether ElevenLabs captures all/any of the text data and files a user submits to the app, stores them somewhere (and if so, whether that is encrypted and private storage), and/or trains on the files a user pastes or uploads. We’ve reached out to the company for an answer and will update when we hear back.