Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri, will be getting a new sound in the newest iOS 14 beta. Apple is adding two new English voices for people to select for Siri. Some new voices for Siri over the years have included Australian, British, Irish, and others, as well as the option to choose a male voice.
The new voices are not only offering more options to your best iPhone but would also sound more natural thanks to Apple’s Neural text-to-speech engine. The new voices should sound smoother and more organic as a result.
In even bigger news, Tech Crunch reports that Apple will no longer use the female voice as the Siri default. Instead, people will get to choose the voice they want to use for Siri rather than default. Critics have long pointed out that companies like Google, Apple, and Amazon using a default female voices are inherently biased and have even been labeled a sexist practice. Tech Crunch also receives a statement from Apple regarding the change:
“We’re excited to introduce two new Siri voices for English speakers and the option for Siri users to select the voice they want when they set up their device,” a statement from Apple reads. “This is a continuation of Apple’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, and products and services that are designed to better reflect the diversity of the world we live in.”
This move seems to be a continuation of Apple’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. A commitment that has been front and center since hiring Barbara Whye as their Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity.
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We know that a diverse and inclusive world makes life better for everyone, and having new options for Siri will ensure that everyone gets to choose the voice for Siri that they feel the most comfortable with.