When Apple revealed Siri with the iPhone 4S on October 4, 2011, we all knew that the future had changed forever. Millions of people around the world have been carrying her around since. Voice translation and control was nothing new, but having a full virtual assistant embedded into a mainstream smartphone was revolutionary.
For years, many of us have gotten to know Siri quite well, whether she was changing our playlist while we were listening to music, adding important business meetings to our calendars, or in some cases, even having a friendly conversation with us when we felt lonely or bored. But while we all knew Siri as our virtual assistant, we did not know who her voice belonged to – until now.
Earlier today, CNN has revealed that the voice of Siri is that of Susan Bennett, an experienced voice worker who lives in Atlanta. Apple has not confirmed the identity of Siri for years and still has made no comments on the matter. However, in addition to the testimony of Bennet, CNN has confirmed with several professionals in the industry including professional audio analyst Ed Primeau to confirm her identity. According to Primeau, the voices of Siri and Bennett “are identical – a 100% match.”
So why has Bennett only come forward now? Apple just released iOS7 last month and the new software update brings new Siri voice. Around the same time, The Verge posted a video that included speculation about the original voice of Siri being that of Allison Dufty. Dufty quickly denied that she had done the work. And Bennett, watching from the sidelines, decided that it was finally time to reveal herself. Bennett had previously not revealed her identity because she “wasn’t sure that [she] wanted that notoriety” and enjoyed the fact that voice work didn’t infringe upon her personal privacy. But, according to Bennett, she finally thought “[Y]ou know, what the heck? This is the time.”
As the next chapter in voice technology and Siri begins, the mystery has finally been solved. But, even as we upgrade to newer and better devices in the years to come and hear different and more refined voices, let us not forget that it all started with Siri and Susan Bennett.