Apple iPhone and iPad users have asked Siri plenty of questions since Apple baked the voice search program into iOS in 2011. One question that was never answered, until now, is “Who is the voice of Siri?” CNN claims that it has tracked down the voice actor responsible for searching the web and setting up appointments on your iOS device.
Susan Bennett, an Atlanta-based voice actor, is the voice used to power Siri, according to CNN. In 2005, Bennett spent a month saying thousands of words and phrases as a contract worker for ScanSoft, the company that eventually became Nuance, a company that Apple reportedly contracts to run Siri’s processing. Bennett recorded her phrases without knowing that she would eventually become the U.S. voice of Siri.
Bennett’s story is rather interesting because she was unaware of her Siri connection until years later when friends began asking if that was her voice. She discovered the connection in 2011 but did not come forward because of fears about legal requirements to remain confidential. Jon Briggs, the voice actor who provided Siri’s voice in Great Britain came forward only a month after he learned his voice was used. Bennett remained quiet until The Verge mistakenly credited another woman as Siri’s voice and at a CNN reporter interviewing her for a semi-related story stumbled upon the connection.
I personally don’t hear the similarity in her voice – automated voices go through processing, so it’s reasonable that there would be some differences – but CNN hired a voice expert to confirm that Bennett is the voice of Siri after Apple and Nuance declined to comment on its story. The full story and a video interview are both available at CNN.