Ever wondered if the human-like yet mechanical voices of Apple’s new Siri personal assistant feature on the iPhone 4S are even real? Well, at least one of them is.
Turns out, the bloke with a slightly posh accent that voices the British version of Siri – more accurately, ‘Daniel’ – is Jon Briggs, a former technology journalist turned experienced voiceover artist.
Apparently Briggs himself did not know that his voice was being used in Apple’s latest tech until he heard it from the new iPhone ads on TV. He revealed that he originally recorded some 5,000 sentences for Scansoft, which later merged with Nuance Communications, the speech technology outfit that provides voice recognition technology for Siri.
“I did a set of recordings with Scansoft five or six years ago, for text-to-speech services,” revealed Briggs.
“Five thousand sentences over three weeks, spoken in a very particular way and only reading flat and even. Then they go away and take all the phonics apart, because I have to be able to read anything you want, even if I’ve never actually recorded all those words.”
Briggs described the end product being “as close to human speech as anything that’s out there. It gets everything right, more or less, apart from the inflection".
However, Apple is reportedly not happy that he disclosed his identity, having told him the technology was “not about one person”. Briggs argued that he never had a contract with Apple, but he’s yet to get a response.
Regardless of Cupertino’s displeasure, Briggs says has no hard feelings towards the tech giant.
“I love Apple’s products and I think Siri is a game-changer,” he said.