iOS 14.5 Adds Two New Voice Options to Siri

Users now have four different Siri voice options, and the default voice is no longer exclusively female.

iOS 14.5 Adds Two New Voice Options to Siri

Apple has released the iOS 14.5 beta to users who have signed up for the Beta Software Program. A noteworthy improvement is that Siri will no longer default to a female (or male) voice, with two more speech options added for users in the US. The changes also apply to the HomePod.

This means that starting with iOS 14.5, users will be prompted to choose a voice assistant themselves for the first time.

For many, this is a positive step forward, as it allows people to select the voice they prefer.

The new voices are available to English-speaking users worldwide, and Siri users can pick a preferred voice in 16 languages. Users outside the US still have two options, but they are now called ‘Voice 1’ and ‘Voice 2’ rather than “Male” and “Female”.

The new options also bring more variety to our choice of Siri’s voice.

In their statement, Apple says, “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 two new voices use “source talent recordings” that run through Apple’s Neural text-to-speech engine, making the voices flow more organically through phrases generated on the fly.

This is probably just the beginning of an expansion in Siri voice options. Not only will Siri’s speech sound more natural, but Apple will offer more variations in accent and dialects.

A great move. It will go some way to help people feel more comfortable interacting with their virtual assistant.

Other changes in iOS 14.5

iOS 14.5 beta 6 also enhances the Siri voices in Ireland, Russia, and Italy, upgrading them to neural text-to-speech.

Thirty-eight voices are now using this new technology, and Siri now handles 25 billion requests on over 500M devices and supports 21 languages in 36 countries.