The sixth beta of iOS 14.5 that was released this morning introduces two new Siri voices that are available in English, plus it adds a new setup selection option that will let people choose their preferred Siri voice rather than defaulting to a female voice in the United States.
The Siri changes were outlined by
TechCrunch, and the site says that the two new voices will add more diversity in speech sound and pattern. Apple in a statement said that the change is a continuation of its commitment to diversity and inclusion.
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. 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.
The new voices that have been added use source talent recordings run through Apple’s Neural Engine to make the voices “flow more organically” through phrases generated on the fly.
After upgrading to iOS 14.5, the “Siri & Search” portion of the Settings app has an upgraded “Siri Voice” option. The “Accent” label has been changed to “Variety,” and there’s no longer a “Gender” selection. Instead, there are now four “American” voice options to choose from.
Today’s beta also improves Siri voices in Ireland, Russia, and Italy to add Apple’s Neural text to speech, which brings the total number of devices using this technology to 38. Siri now handles 25 billion requests on over 500M voices and supports 21 languages in 36 countries.
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