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Siri, Can I Use a Different Voice?

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As soon as Apple announced the Siri assistant app for the iPhone 4S, the first question many users wanted to ask is, “Can I change the voice of Siri?”

The new Siri assistant app is a virtual personal assistant that can do things you ask, by talking to it like you would a person. Siri talks back to you, allowing you to get confirmation, have your text messages read to you and tell you that you already have a meeting at that time.

Siri currently uses a female voice, that sounds similar to the OS X Text To Speech voices that are a part of Mac computers. You can hear one of the voices, called Alex, on Apple’s accessibility page. OS X users can choose from three male and three female voices. The Siri promotional video below seems to do better with names than the Text to Speech engine in OS X Lion and talks smoother.

Siri LogoWill we be able to choose our Siri voice? Right now, Siri is in beta and it appears that you can only have a female voice talk with you. Peter Kafka thinks this is because a male voice would sound too much like Hal 9000, but Apple has likely picked one voice in order to get things out the door.

Early versions of Apple’s Text-to-Speech software, called Macintalk had few voice options, but have grown to support multiple voices in over 21 languages. Given the early limitations, we wouldn’t be surprised if Apple added voices in future iOS updates, or when Siri leaves Beta.

Given the importance of voice in Siri’s performance, I would be surprised if Apple allowed third parties to sell Siri voice packs in the App Store. As much as you would like to have Mr. T., Betty White, KITT, Darth Vader or Hubert J. Farnsworth, telling you that you need an umbrella, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Still, I can dream right?

Me: “Siri, will it rain?”

Mr. T Voice: “I pity the fool without an umbrella.”

We have reached out to Apple for news on this, but so far have not heard about support for multiple voices for Siri. If Apple confirms any information, we will update this post.

Josh Smith is Editor of GottaBeMobile and Notebooks.com. He's always looking for ways to help you get the most of your gear and loves to talk about tech on radio and TV. Josh uses an iOS and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows Computers. Josh Smith on Google+ Email: [email protected]

29 Comments

  1. Alexander Garcia

    10/05/2011 at 11:12 am

    Siri is an epic FAIL in my opinion. Now imagine a bunch of douchebags talking to their phones (not having a conversation with someone on the other line, but actually taking directly to their phones) in a bus or a subway or a mall or an airport or on the streets or in a park or on a date or… well you get the picture. Siri will generate a new level of @$$hole-ery.

    • Leonard Holland

      10/05/2011 at 10:53 pm

      You do have the option of typing in what you want to Siri. So you dont have to worry about looking like a douche bag. 

      • Anonymous

        11/27/2011 at 5:13 am

        He’d look like a d-bag no matter what…

    • Anonymous

      10/08/2011 at 10:48 pm

      I know. Imagine all these people…talking into their telephones! It’s madness! What a world, what a world!

    • Benfigueroa

      10/11/2011 at 11:00 pm

      Ok now I think siri was developed for use In sertin situations, Like if a person is blind this could be a very powerful device!! If you have fat finguers , or maybe like me.. Can’t spell lol ect..

    • Julien Geffray

      10/13/2011 at 6:05 am

      As John Gruber already explained: “You might wonder, Hey, don’t you feel like a jerk walking around the city talking to your phone? But here’s the thing: Siri, by default, kicks in when you hold the iPhone up to your ear, so you can talk to it and it looks like you’re on a phone call.”

    • Yousuck

      11/21/2011 at 8:26 am

       LOL, you know you took this from the iPhone 4s parody on youtube? Lol, tool

    • Bonersaurusrex

      01/09/2012 at 6:15 pm

      how does asking your phone something so you dont have to go thruogh the motions yourself make you look like a douche? or generate a new level of assholery.  imagine living in ny and being able to use your phone hands free and not get a 300$ ticket.  

      android does a lot of things but doesnt make you not look like a douche when you bash apple you scumbag.  you should find an iphone and ask siri for directions back to mexico  you scumbag wetback

    • Two6point2

      02/14/2012 at 6:08 pm

      Yeah, the world was fine with the level off a holery you’ve reached.

    • Jordan023

      03/10/2012 at 11:56 am

      Hey look everyone this guy can’t afford an iPhone so he bashes it believe me I bought the galaxy note an it was the worst phone I have ever owned because droid sucks I didn’t find one thing on the droid I couldn’t do on the iPhone and the apps on droid are crap that’s why they are free screen lagged so bad and to find your stuff on droid its a 5 step process and the funny part is if you go to the app store you will find 70% of the apps are make your droid an iOS device home screen just like apple iPhone that’s what you find in the droid market place so my question is this if droid is so good why are all these apps in market place trying to make droid look like an iPhone. Why cause in 2 years droid will be bankrupt that’s why. Droid sucks

      • Jackson

        04/30/2012 at 10:51 pm

        You’re an idiot. There are so many things wrong with what you just said it’s laughable. Go back to school, child.

    • Michael

      09/17/2012 at 8:39 pm

      Oh come on, don’t you want to be able to say, “computer” and have it reply “computer working.” Or better yet, “I’m sorry I can’t do that Dave.”

    • knows more than U

      03/31/2013 at 4:49 pm

      are you kidding me dude? You are replying to a blogg. who is the @$$hole now?
      I bet you thought indoor plumbing was a bad idea

  2. Vic

    10/08/2011 at 7:08 pm

    I want to have Jarvis on my phone like the interface in the Ironman movies. That would be so badass

  3. Kishan

    10/10/2011 at 8:54 am

    @Vic i know right, been thinking about that too

  4. Benfigueroa

    10/11/2011 at 10:54 pm

    That’s so funny … I almost pissed my pants when I read the mr t script lol

    Thanks for the review!!

  5. 2somewhere

    10/14/2011 at 8:50 am

    I would rather have someone talking to their phone then typing and not paying attention to where there going. A lot of states have band texting while driving (rightfully so) This is a safer alternative.

    • 2somewhere

      10/14/2011 at 8:52 am

      Oh, and you can change the voice from female to male. I believe you have 2 choices of each.

  6. Cool_and_funky

    10/15/2011 at 4:43 am

    Uk iPhone 4S has a male Siri voice. So there is an option if you change to UK English.

  7. Mark

    10/16/2011 at 9:49 pm

    Siri’s voice is currently controlled under Settings > International > Voice Control > Siri. 
    You get the female  voice for US English, male for UK. I tried the male UK setting, but he can’t understand my American accent very well at all. 
    I rather preferred an English assistant. 
    :-(

  8. Eman

    10/17/2011 at 7:26 pm

    They should also have the voice of Jarvis from ironman that would be kool

  9. Jrsneitweitzer

    10/30/2011 at 8:58 pm

    I want to make mine sound like officer barbrady from south park that would be kick ass!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Staticdol

    11/16/2011 at 9:17 pm

    It seem with iphone 4s Siri voice has changed ! I got the iOS 5 update it seems
    That Siri voice change ?

  11. Shuffl

    03/03/2012 at 10:48 am

    If you’re ok with an australian or british accent you can get a man.

  12. terry

    06/21/2012 at 7:14 am

    i am looking for a more qinky voice for my iphone any one can you help me plz and thank you??

  13. Chris

    08/26/2012 at 3:16 am

    Siri is a brilliant idea android is shit that’s why I look like a dick talking to my phone but at least I get an answer to my questions lol

  14. G33k

    04/03/2013 at 7:41 pm

    In England Siri is a male voice

  15. RaiderTek

    04/10/2013 at 10:18 pm

    I’d personally like either a GLADOS or a wheatley voice for siri.

  16. Bambamcuddles

    05/12/2013 at 12:03 pm

    Ok I’m running Mac in my house on two touch screens and one touch screen in my garage. I am running a I pad with ISO 6.1.2 which travels what I look up screen for screen my I phone is connected to what’s all listed above as well as my smart watch. I can control my temperature settings my security and I have fixed Siri where I can use it on any of my computer applications in my home or on me. Siri may not be Jarvis like many iron man fans want but it is one step closer to a personal assistant than anything else on the market and apple is still showing it has more game than windows or droid applications. If you are unsaticified with Siri and apple then you don’t know how to use it correctly or you have higher expectations than any company at this moment can produce.

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