Apple Tweaks British and Australian Speaking Voices for Siri on HomePod

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Apr 12, 2001
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Over the past 24 hours, we've seen a handful of reports talking about a new update to the speaking voice of Siri on HomePod in a few regions. These reports are mostly located in the United Kingdom and Australia, and mention the British (Male and Female) and Australian (Male and Female) speaking voices for the assistant, specifically on Apple's HomePod smart speaker.


The change appears to be very subtle. MacRumors readers described the Australian Female and British Male voices as "more natural" and "much clearer," and similar reports have emerged about other voices. Although there are many different descriptions for each voice, the consensus appears to be that the tweaks make Siri sound more human-like.

HomePod users can choose any Siri voice no matter the region they are located in, but as of now the vast majority of these reports appear to be located in the same regions as the voice they represent. This may be the beginning of a wider rollout, but that's still unclear at this point.

Twitter user @callumjcoe recorded the difference between the current iteration of the Australian Female voice (on an iPad) and the updated voice (on HomePod). Of course, distortion and muddled sound quality from a recording don't provide a perfect example, but there is a slight change between the two heard in the video, which is likely much more pronounced in person.

So will the real #Siri please stand up. pic.twitter.com/8a8LCyarqI - Callum (@callumjcoe) February 13, 2019
As of writing, MacRumors hasn't noticed any similar updates to Siri on HomePod (for any voices) in the United States. Apple has updated Siri over the past year with improvements to the assistant's ability to recognize local businesses and destinations, as well as new jokes, but many Apple users remain frustrated with the technology. One of the last major updates to Siri came in iOS 11 in 2017, when Apple gave Siri a more natural voice that had better pronunciation and different inflection depending on what's being said.

In early 2018, Siri creator, co-founder, and former board member Norman Winarsky talked about the origins of Siri and the company's intentions for the assistant before Apple acquired it. According to the co-founder, Siri was originally meant to be incredibly intelligent in just a few key areas -- travel and entertainment -- and then "gradually extend to related areas" once it mastered each. Apple's acquisition pivoted Siri to an all-encompassing life assistant, and Winarsky said that this decision has likely led Apple to search "for a level of perfection they can't get."

Although unconfirmed, the new voice changes to Siri may be Apple's latest attempt to make the voice assistant more personable and easy to talk to, in the wake of ongoing user complaints. If the changes roll out to other regions, we'll update this article.

(Thanks Sebastian, Robert, and Jared!)

Article Link: Apple Tweaks British and Australian Speaking Voices for Siri on HomePod
 
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abrooks

macrumors 6502a
Sep 18, 2004
618
57
London, UK
I've been on the road, so I asked my partner whether she thought Siri sounded different the last couple of days. I got this:
I asked her something and I was struck by how much more real she suddenly sounded. Like dunno if I was half asleep or what but I noticed a difference in that she sounded like someone in the room with me. Then I thought nothing more of it
 
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Bootsie01

macrumors newbie
Feb 13, 2019
2
0
OMG! This is totally happening in the United States! I’m here and use the British Siri voice. It was enough for me to think I was going crazy. I wasn’t going to say anything, but to see it’s happening, I’ll definitely contribute to the number who were affected!
 
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G5isAlive

macrumors 6502a
Aug 28, 2003
846
1,112
I'd love for them to fix whatever bug it is causing Siri to say "just a sec" and pause for 10-20 seconds every time I ask to play music. All other voice commands work instantly.
I would check your network. I have a couple of HomePods. The one with good wifi reception is very fast even with music responses. The one that is at the limit of the wifi signal and generally measures out to be slow in speed, behaves as you describe. Alas, the one with the crappy wifi I can't do anything about. It's at work and the IT people are not happy with me as it is lol.
 
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martyjmclean

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2018
617
2,178
Sydney, NSW
OMG! This is totally happening in the United States! I’m here and use the British Siri voice. It was enough for me to think I was going crazy. I wasn’t going to say anything, but to see it’s happening, I’ll definitely contribute to the number who were affected!
Well obviously... they’re updating accents not countries.
 
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tgara

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2012
994
2,761
Connecticut, USA
I'm in the US and I have my homepods set to British female voice. Last night and this morning, I she sounded a bit different, a bit clearer, and she spoke faster.
 
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HJM.NL

macrumors 68020
Jul 25, 2016
2,081
3,702
Netherlands
Would love to see Siri properly working in Dutch. As I would love to see Applepay being introduced over here and see maps getting upgraded with cycling routes. Also would love to see the HomePod getting updated and introduced over here... hope Apple understands that lots of people chose products and services from other brands that do offer these things.
[doublepost=1550073097][/doublepost]
Yep this is a priority. I'm sure Siri is still just as dumb.
It’s lipstick on a pig unless you like the dumb blond :D
 
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Shanghaichica

macrumors G4
Apr 8, 2013
11,703
8,324
UK
I'm at work. Not back home until 10.30 so wont be able to test it out. I have the British male voice for some reason. Alexa and Google assistant I have set as females but Siri I prefer as a man.
 
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simonmet

macrumors 68020
Sep 9, 2012
2,346
3,149
Sydney
I would check your network. I have a couple of HomePods. The one with good wifi reception is very fast even with music responses. The one that is at the limit of the wifi signal and generally measures out to be slow in speed, behaves as you describe. Alas, the one with the crappy wifi I can't do anything about. It's at work and the IT people are not happy with me as it is lol.
IT are never happy with anything but complete and total surrender and control! :p
 
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zarmanto

macrumors regular
Feb 3, 2014
151
97
Around the corner from the 7/11
That's all well and good... but it boggles my mind that seemingly simple directions yield the proverbial, "I can't do that, Dave." response from Siri, on my iPhone.

* Hey Siri, lock my iPhone. (When you notice that someone has your iPhone and is rifling through your personal stuff without permission, for instance.)
* Hey Siri, turn off my iPhone. ("No Siri... I don't need directions on how to turn off my iPhone; I wanted you to do it.")
* Hey Siri, read this webpage to me. (When your eyes are otherwise occupied by something more important, such as driving.)
* Hey Siri, open google.com in Chrome. ("No Siri... that's Safari. I said Chrome." Same issue with Firefox, obviously.)
* Hey Siri, open Notes and take dictation for me. (All of the necessary sub-components are right there waiting to be invoked... it's basically just the front door itself that's closed! Am I the only person who wants to do this -- and not pay Dragon's hefty price for the privilege?)
* Hey Siri, do any damned thing period when I'm off the grid. (Yeah... apparently that's just never going to happen, because Siri lives entirely in the cloud.)

"All-encompassing life assistant"? Yeah... not so much.
 
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