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Your iPhone will soon be able to speak in your voice with just 15 minutes of training

By Kenny Yeo - on 25 Jun 2023, 11:27am

Your iPhone will soon be able to speak in your voice with just 15 minutes of training

Note: This article was first published on 18 May 2023.

(Image source: Apple)

Apple just announced a bunch of new accessibility features designed to help people with disabilities, and the highlight of this announcement has to be the new Personal Voice feature.

Personal Voice was designed to help users who are at risk of losing their ability to speak. What it does is that it uses machine learning on the iPhone to create a synthesised voice that sounds just like the user to talk with friends and family members, and even in daily interactions like ordering food and coffee.

The process to create a Personal Voice is easy. Simply read a set of randomised text and your iPhone or iPad will use on-device machine learning to replicate your voice. This means your voice is created on device, which helps ensure privacy.

I was treated to a short demo and although it's nowhere near a perfect copy, Apple's Personal Voice feature still managed to capture most of the subject's accent, intonation, and cadence. It's obviously synthesised but I think most close friends and family members will be able to tell that the synthesised voice is based off on the user.

Personal Voice will also work with another new feature called Live Speech, which will enable users to type what they want to say during phone and FaceTime calls and even during in-person interactions. 

In addition to these two features, Apple also announced other accessibility features such as Assistive Access and Point and Speak. The former creates a customised and more streamlined experience for users with blown-up menu buttons and large text, making it easier for users to navigate through their devices.

The latter, Point and Speak, helps users who have vision disabilities to read labels. Using input from the camera, lidar scanner, and on-device machine learning, your iPhone or iPad can be used to read text labels on devices such as microwaves or washing machines.

Apple did not say when these features will be available exactly and would only say they will arrive "later this year" which should mean that they'll be part of iOS 17 and iPadOS 17. We should know more at WWDC 2023.

Source: Apple

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