While Apple won’t comment, a CNN.com report has identified the voice behind iPhone’s Siri as professional voiceover actor Susan Bennett.
CNN reporter Jessica Ravitz said Bennett decided to come out of anonymity after The Verge released a video last month mistakenly claiming Siri’s voice belonged to voiceover artist Allison Duffy. (Duffy responded to The Verge story on her website by saying she was “absolutely, and positively” not the voice of the iPhone voice application.)
“I really had to weigh the importance of it for me personally,” Bennett told Ravitz when explaining why she is finally talking about her connection to Siri, “I wasn’t sure that I wanted that notoriety, and I also wasn’t sure where I stood legally.” Bennett said she remained hush-hush about her Siri connection for a long-time, even though she knew it was her voice.
“It seemed like everyone was clamoring to find out who the real voice behind Siri is, and so I thought, well, you know, what the heck? This is the time,” said Bennett.
While Apple will not confirm the voice behind Siri, Bennett says she knew it was hers shortly after a colleague emailed Bennett to ask if she was Siri when the iPhone 4S was released in 2011. “It was obviously me,” said Bennett, “It’s my voice.”
According to the story on CNN.com, Bennett worked for voiceover agency GM Voices in Atlanta when her voice was selected in 2005 for a project with software company ScanSoft. The company signed Bennett to provide the voice for recordings that would be used in a database to construct speech. CNN says ScanSoft was purchased by Nuance Communications later the same year, and that Nuance is “widely accepted” as the company that provided Apple with the technology used to create Siri.
Ed Primeau, an audio forensic expert hired by CNN to evaluate Bennett’s voice, claims he is certain Bennett’s voice is behind Siri. “I believe, and I’ve lived this for 30 years, no two voices are the same,” Primeau told CNN.com. “They are identical,” says Primeau, claiming Bennett’s voice and Siri’s is a 100 percent match.
With the release of iOS7, users who update their iPhones will no longer hear Bennett’s voice; but, you can listen to her now – before you forget what the original Siri sounded like – in Bennett’s interview on CNN.com: