Siri has been given an updated voice to users in the United Kingdom.
Seemingly delivered through server-side changes overnight, the company has been updating its international Siri voices, with some reporting that the British male voice had been upgraded a couple of weeks ago.
Today, it appears that the British female voice has also been given a makeover, so to speak, on iPad, iPhone, and the HomePod.
However, unlike the upgrade in iOS 11 when Apple added a new US female voice to the operating system, these upgrades do not involve new voice-over artistes – instead, the voices are from the same artiste but are less robotic than their previous iterations.
It is thought that Apple has been working on new machine-learning techniques designed to improve the sound synthesis of its Siri smart assistant.
Similar changes have been heard in Australia for example, with users noticing changes in Sir’s accent and content delivery.
Although the changes may be subtle at first glance, it appears as though the new British voice sounds clearer, sharper, and more natural, with a better intonation of some words and syllables.
The male voice has similarly been enhanced, and also sounds more natural.
— Benjamin Mayo (@bzamayo) March 5, 2019
Whilst these changes won’t make Siri smarter or more useful, it’s good to see that Apple continues to invest in its smart assistant in a market that’s dominated by Google Assistant and Alexa.
Many have criticized the company in the past for its slow development of Siri, and today the assistant lags behind its competitors in terms of features and functionality.
With Apple expected to announce a new HomePod in 2019 and perhaps introduce a new low-cost HomePod to appease price-sensitive customers, it’s likely that the firm has been working on many behind-the-scenes tweaks and new features to bring Siri up to scratch.
Apple hired John Giannandrea from Google to steer its artificial intelligence and machine learning efforts and recently promoted him to Apple’s executive team, which hints that new features are indeed coming with iOS 13 and the upcoming macOS and watchOS upgrades.
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