Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Apple Stops Identifying Siri Voices by Gender, Adds Two New American English Options

Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch:

Apple is adding two new voices to Siri’s English offerings, and eliminating the default “female voice” selection in the latest beta version of iOS. This means that every person setting up Siri will choose a voice for themselves and it will no longer default to the voice assistant being female, a topic that has come up quite a bit with regards to bias in voice interfaces over the past few years.

[…]

In some countries and languages Siri already defaults to a male voice. But this change makes the choice the users’ for the first time.

I like how these are labelled numerically rather than by apparent gender. The two new voices sound excellent; they’re Voice 2 and Voice 3 in the American English dialect, and I recommend giving them a try when you install iOS 14.5.

None of these changes helps make Siri any more reliable or consistent, but at least it sounds far better while confidently disobeying your intent.