As part of today’s release of iOS 14.5 beta 6, Apple is making several notable changes to Siri. The company says that Siri will no longer be standard for a female voice starting with iOS 14.5, and it adds two additional voice options to choose from. The changes also apply to the HomePod.
As first reported by TechCrunchApple says this change is part of the ongoing commitment to diversity:
“We are pleased to introduce two new Siri voices for English speakers and the ability for Siri users to choose the voice they want when setting up the device,” said a statement from Apple. “This is a continuation of Apple̵7;s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, and products and services designed to better reflect the diversity of the world we live in.”
The report explains that the new voices use “source talent footage which is then run through Apple’s neural text to speech engine.” This allows the voices to “flow more organically”, even when phrases are generated on the go. The new voices are available in English-speaking countries.
This means that starting with iOS 14.5, users will be asked to select a voice assistant for the first time. We are still updating our devices and will report back when we have the opportunity to try this.
In addition, iOS 14.5 beta 6 also enhances Siri voices in Ireland, Russia and Italy, upgrading them to neural text to speech. This means that 38 votes now use this new technology. “Siri now handles 25 billion requests across 500 million units and supports 21 languages in 36 countries,” the report said.
If you see any changes to the beta version of iOS 14.5, or the other new releases from Apple today, you can let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @ 9to5Mac. Stay tuned for our practical coverage with the new releases right here 9to5Mac Today.
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