An Atlanta woman has come out as the U.S. voice of Siri, Apple’s “virtual personal assistant,” that is built into iOS and was introduced with the debut of the iPhone 4S.
Susan Bennett says she first discovered that her voice was being used on Apple’s smartphones when a friend emailed her and asked if it was her voice on the iPhone commercial. She headed to the Apple website to discover that she had unknowingly provided the voice for the system with samples she recorded in July of 2005, a full six years before the phone’s launch.
In an interview with CNN, Bennett says she had no idea the voice samples she made in the summer of 2005 would be used by the Cupertino firm. ScanSoft, a software company, was looking for a voice for a new project. It reached out, and eventually connected with Bennett. For four hours a day, every day, in July 2005, Bennett holed up in her home recording booth recording what would eventually become the voice of Siri.
“In October 2005, a few months after Bennett made those recordings, ScanSoft bought and took on the name of Nuance Communications. Nuance is the company widely accepted to have provided to Apple the technology behind Siri.”
Bennett’s voice is also used in many electronic devices, such as GPS units. Her voice was used in the first ATM.
Bennett says she fell into voice work by accident in the 1970s. Her work can now be heard worldwide in commercials, and on countless phone systems. She also addresses travelers in Delta airport terminals.
Apple won’t confirm that it is Bennett’s voice used for Siri.
Bennett isn’t quite what I had pictured when I hear Siri’s voice, I always had her pictured more like she appeared when she “guest starred” on The Big Bang Theory” a few seasons back.