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iPhones will soon be able to learn your voice and speak for you

Apple's Personal Voice feature could be a game-changer for those slowly losing their voice.

Published onMay 17, 2023

  • Apple has announced a host of accessibility features coming later this year.
  • Personal Voice might be the most innovative feature of them all.
  • This replicates your own voice with 15 minutes of audio recordings.

Android phones bring loads of accessibility features to the table, from Live Caption and Sound Amplifier to Live Transcribe and more. But Apple is stepping up its game in this area by announcing a raft of upcoming features, and we really want to see one particular option on Android.

Personal Voice functionality is perhaps the coolest upcoming feature revealed by the iPhone maker today. Apple says people can generate their own voice on an iPhone or iPad by simply reading 15 minutes of randomized text prompts. Your Personal Voice is created locally rather than making use of the cloud, therefore safeguarding your privacy.

Apple says this feature will benefit those who are about to lose their ability to speak, pointing to people suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or other conditions that slowly affect speech.

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This isn’t the first time we’ve seen tech companies come up with solutions for those who have speech issues. For example, Google announced the Project Relate and Euphonia initiatives, which aim to help people with speech difficulties by training speech recognition models on “non-standard” speech.

Apple’s solution could provide a personalized voice for the (eventual) voiceless, though. In fact, this could also be a handy feature for those who are otherwise averse to phone calls for whatever reason. Either way, we hope Google brings a similar feature to Android.

Other accessibility features coming later this year

The iPhone maker adds that Personal Voice also integrates with a new feature called Live Speech. This lets you type a message and have it spoken out during phone calls or FaceTime chats. This is broadly in line with RTT calling tech, although the addition of Personal Voice support makes it a more (you guessed it) personal affair.

Apple is also bringing a few other accessibility features later this year, including Assistive Access (akin to a very easy mode with a stripped-down UI) and Point and Speak (reading out labels/text in the camera viewfinder as you point at them).

There’s no word on a timeline for all these features to come to Apple devices, but we’re guessing that they’ll arrive in the next iPhone and iPad updates. Expect more details on these platform updates at Apple’s WWDC event next month.

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