I’m signed up to Apple’s public beta for iOS 17. I don’t usually sign up to public betas because I often find them buggy and more hassle than they are worth. But this update was too good to miss. I won’t bore you with the many new things, except for one, which, rather strangely is hidden away.
This one thing is the ability to create a synthetic version of your own voice. Obviously I had to try it.
I say that it’s tucked away because it’s not a feature I have seen promoted and I actually struggled to find it. It’s tucked into “accessibility” under settings, where I had to scroll down to “personal voice” under speech. Once there I tapped on “Create a Personal Voice” to find the instructions. See the series of screenshots below:
I won’t lie: Even for someone who speaks as much as I do, reading 150 lines was a touch tedious. The device records continuously and recognises a line when you start speaking. You can pause anytime and/or redo a phrase.
And then voila, it starts processing. And you wait, which is not one of my virtues.
The phone needs to be locked and connected to power. Overnight didn’t quite do it, so I kept my phone on as much as I could the next day, checking intermittently. The following morning it was done.
And I am pretty impressed. It’s clearly not the same and a little robotic, but this is a beta without much training and I think the intonation is pretty good. Take a listen for yourself.
I should point that the purpose of this synthetic voice isn’t to help people with ALS. It’s not — at least at the moment — meant for commercial use in any way. All data is kept locally on the iPhone.
Here’s the announcement:
I’ll be keeping an eye on how this develops. Please let me know how your voice pans out as you make your own.
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