Apple’s voice-assistant Siri is as popular as the brand itself. It’s not only the voice behind one of the iconic mobile phones that pioneered the smartphone era but also the voice that has guided the iPhone loyalists for past 6 years. From waking you up in the morning and guiding you through those complicated city roads to responding to your silly chat messages with quirky replies, Siri has been there with you every step of the way ever since Apple launched iPhone 4s in October 2011.
But have you ever wondered who gave voice to Siri?
According to a Guardian report, the first generation of Siri had three voices– Susan Bennett, who voiced the American version of Siri, Jon Briggs the British Siri and Karen Jacobsen, the Australian voice Siri.
It all began in 2005, when the American voice-over artist and singer, Susan Bennett started spending four hours a day, five days a week for a month reading out random sentences. At the time, Bennett had no idea that her recordings with the Atlanta-based voice-recording company GM Voice would one day turn out to be the voice Apple’s, Siri. Interestingly, it wasn’t until October 2011 when a fellow voice artist called up Bennett to point out that she was the voice in the newly launched iPhone. Since she had signed a non-disclosure agreement with the company, she could never claim her rights as the voice behind Apple’s digital assistant.
Unlike Bennett, Jacobsen, who is known as the GPS girl in Australia, auditioned for the role. According to a report in ABC news, she was pursuing her dream in New York when she got a call from a client who was looking an Australian voice-over artist in the US. Jacobsen became the default voice for Siri on all Apple devices in Australia.
As far is Briggs is concerned, he was British tech journalist who accidentally ventured into the voice-over work when he recorded ‘Daniel’ for Scansoft, a company that merged with Nuance Communications in 2005, the company that helped Apple in creating Siri. He told the Telegraph that he did a set of recordings, nearly five thousand sentences over a period of three weeks, with the company.
Jacobsen and Briggs too had to waive off their rights to their voice.
Bennett, Jacobson and Briggs remain the unsung heroes behind Apple’s Siri. The company has remained silent despite repeated queries by various publications. The company changed Siri’s voice with the introduction of iOS 7.