Apple Will Introduce a Gender-Neutral Siri Voice in iOS Update
Apple will add a fifth voice to Siri’s repertoire that is explicitly neither male nor female with the next iOS iteration. Though iOS 15.4 is undergoing beta testing right now, Apple has confirmed the new voice is part of the software package.
The non-gendered voice is labeled in the files as “Quinn,” which works both as a gender-neutral name and a reference to its status as Siri’s fifth voice. The voice assistant appears to be pursuing a more diverse library of voices following the addition of two new options last year recorded by Black voice actors. That was also when Siri ceased to default to the woman’s voice. Apple has said a member of the LGBTQ+ community recorded the Quinn voice, though not specifically who did the performance.
“We’re excited to introduce a new Siri voice for English speakers, giving users more options to choose a voice that speaks to them,” Apple said in a statement to Axios. “Millions of people around the world rely on Siri every day to help get things done, so we work to make the experience feel as personalized as possible.”
The additions to Siri in iOS 15.4 follow the major updates made in iOS 15 to the voice assistant. That includes giving Siri the ability to process speech on the device without sending information to the cloud. The voice assistant also improved its speech recognition and understanding, learning new topics, words, and contact names. The AI’s upgraded understanding of context means it will know who or what is being asked about based on what’s on the screen. And while there aren’t new voices in other languages mentioned as of yet, Siri’s linguistic ability added nine regional languages, while the neural text-to-speech feature on the devices added Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and Finnish to its list.