Several years ago, Jon Briggs took a voiceover job for a company called Scansoft. Scansoft later merged with Nuance, which makes the voices that Apple used for Siri.
Briggs tells the UK Telegraph:
“I did a set of recordings with Scansoft five or six years ago, for text-to-speech services,” says Briggs. “Five thousand sentences over three weeks, spoken in a very particular way and only reading flat and even. Then they go away and take all the phonics apart, because I have to be able to read anything you want, even if I’ve never actually recorded all those words.”
The result, Briggs says is “as close to human speech as anything that’s out there. It gets everything right, more or less, apart from the inflection.”
His voice, which is very familiar to United Kingdom iPhone 4S owners, is also used as the voice of GPS for Garmin, TomTom, Jaguar, Land Rover, Audi and Porsche.
For its part, Apple isn't pleased with Briggs' newfound fame. A representative called him after
his interview with the Telegraph the iPhone 4S was released and asked him not to talk publicly about Siri, saying the company isn't "about one person." Briggs pointed out that he wasn't an Apple employee and he recorded the voices six years ago for a separate company. He hasn't heard from Apple since.