Apple’s iOS will no longer default to a female voice for Siri, but will instead allow users to choose between male and female voices when configuring their device. Apple also adds two new Siri voices to iOS.
The update was discovered in the sixth beta of iOS 14.5, which also contains two new voices for Apple’s Siri. Siri already defaults to a male voice in certain countries and languages. However, for the first time, this move puts the decision in the hands of the consumers.
According to a TechCrunch report, Previously Siri would use a female voice by default, which users may adjust in the settings. You may also alter Siri’s accent, and Apple is adding two new voices.
“We’re excited to introduce two new Siri voices for English speakers and the option for Siri users to select the voice they want when they set up their device,” a statement from Apple reads.
“This is a continuation of Apple’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion and products and services that are designed to better reflect the diversity of the world we live in.”
According to TechCrunch, the subject of bias in voice assistants has been studied more thoroughly in recent years. According to a United Nations report, using a female voice promotes gender inequality and negative stereotypes.
This new beta also upgrades Siri voices in Ireland, Russia, and Italy to Neural TTS, taking the total number of voices that use the new technology to 38. Siri currently handles 25 billion requests a month on over 500 million devices and is available in 21 languages in 36 countries.