The Siri Voice Actors Have Never Worked For Apple

By James O Malley on at

Three voices of Siri, Apple's voice assistant, have never been properly employed by Apple – and the company weren't even interested in talking to them, it has emerged.

The Guardian has a lovely feature interviewing three of the voices, Jon Briggs, Susan Bennett and Karen Jacobsen, in which they reveal what life is like being such a ubiquitous voice.

It turns out that the original voices weren't created by Apple but were in fact licensed from text-to-voice company Nuance. So it came as a surprise when suddenly their voices were installed on to millions of iPhones. Susan Bennett told the Graun:

"I had a lot of different feelings about it. I was flattered that my voice had been chosen, but it was strange not to have known about it in advance."

Strangely too, Apple didn't seem to want much to do with the original artists. John Briggs explained his interaction with the company:

"I contacted them to see if there was anything that I could do to help promote Siri. I never went public about being the voice of Siri myself, but having been the voice of BBC Radio 2 for 13 years and the voice of the Weakest Link, I am a fairly well known voice over artist. I was already being recognised.

"They were rather dismissive and said that Apple wasn’t all about one person, you know. Given that this was about three months after the very sad death of Steve Jobs, who was definitely the one person that Apple was all about, it was all a little strange."

Amusingly too, it seems that Briggs isn't much of a fan of the guy who replaced him as Siri:

"I use Siri to book appointments and send texts as well as asking silly questions. Although I use the female voice rather than my male replacement, as I find the new one a little insipid if I’m honest."

Perhaps most amazingly, it seems that Apple didn't even give the voice actors a free iPhone, with Karen Jacobsen explaining how she was late to hop on the iPhone bandwagon, but now indeed does use Siri herself:

"I feel as if I was the last person to get an iPhone. Our phone company did not offer iPhones for years. The most fun part is seeing my son ask Siri questions, especially when it is my voice answering. When he was younger he seemed frustrated that “mommy in the phone” would not answer him as if she knew him."

Read the full interview over on the Graun. [The Guardian]

Top image via Guardian (edited)