If you’re a U.S. user of Siri, Apple’s voice assistant feature for the iPhone 4S, you’re greeted by a mechanical yet still rather soothing voice of a woman. That changes for users in the UK. Their Siri is a man, with a British (but still rather mechanical) accent.
And the identity of the British Siri has been uncovered. His name is Jon Briggs and he has never worked for Apple.
Briggs is a tech journalist turned voice-over specialist. He recorded the voice of “Daniel” for Scansoft, a company that merged with Nuance, who in turn provides Apple with content for Siri.
Here’s what Briggs has to say in his interview with The Telegraph:
I did a set of recordings with Scansoft five or six years ago, for text-to-speech services. Five thousand sentences over three weeks, spoken in a very particular way and only reading flat and even. Then they go away and take all the phonics apart, because I have to be able to read anything you want, even if I’ve never actually recorded all those words.
The first time that he realized that he was the voice of the UK Siri was after seeing a demo on TV.
Here’s the funny thing: Apple contacted Briggs and asked him to refrain from talking about his involvement as the voice of Siri. So Briggs apparently told Apple “hey, I don’t really work for you” and promptly did an interview with The Telegraph.
He’s not bitter, however. He says that he is a fan of Apple products and thinks that Siri is a real “game changer.” And his famous voice is not just featured on Siri, but on Garmin, TomTom, The Weakest Link, and navigation systems for cars like Audi and Porsche.
He’s made some comments on the situation on Twitter:
Thanks for all the tweets. I hasten to add I love Apple and have championed Apple Kit since the early 80’s. I even own a Mac SE!
@BritishFemaleVO I’m just delighted to be part of the fabric of technology! It’s also nice to say that I didn’t get a penny from Apple.
Here’s Briggs’ voice in action:
In other Siri news, Apple has quashed rumors that they are bringing Siri to older devices, namely the iPhone 4. And yesterday we learned exactly how Siri knows to activate when you hold your phone up to your face.