Apple Tweaks British and Australian Speaking Voices for Siri on HomePod

Over the past 24 hours, we've seen a handful of reports talking about a new update to the speaking voice of Siri on HomePod in a few regions. These reports are mostly located in the United Kingdom and Australia, and mention the British (Male and Female) and Australian (Male and Female) speaking voices for the assistant, specifically on Apple's ‌HomePod‌ smart speaker.

homepod still
The change appears to be very subtle. MacRumors readers described the Australian Female and British Male voices as "more natural" and "much clearer," and similar reports have emerged about other voices. Although there are many different descriptions for each voice, the consensus appears to be that the tweaks make ‌Siri‌ sound more human-like.

‌HomePod‌ users can choose any ‌Siri‌ voice no matter the region they are located in, but as of now the vast majority of these reports appear to be located in the same regions as the voice they represent. This may be the beginning of a wider rollout, but that's still unclear at this point.

Twitter user @callumjcoe recorded the difference between the current iteration of the Australian Female voice (on an iPad) and the updated voice (on ‌HomePod‌). Of course, distortion and muddled sound quality from a recording don't provide a perfect example, but there is a slight change between the two heard in the video, which is likely much more pronounced in person.

As of writing, MacRumors hasn't noticed any similar updates to ‌Siri‌ on ‌HomePod‌ (for any voices) in the United States. Apple has updated ‌Siri‌ over the past year with improvements to the assistant's ability to recognize local businesses and destinations, as well as new jokes, but many Apple users remain frustrated with the technology. One of the last major updates to ‌Siri‌ came in iOS 11 in 2017, when Apple gave ‌Siri‌ a more natural voice that had better pronunciation and different inflection depending on what's being said.

In early 2018, ‌Siri‌ creator, co-founder, and former board member Norman Winarsky talked about the origins of Siri and the company's intentions for the assistant before Apple acquired it. According to the co-founder, ‌Siri‌ was originally meant to be incredibly intelligent in just a few key areas -- travel and entertainment -- and then "gradually extend to related areas" once it mastered each. Apple's acquisition pivoted ‌Siri‌ to an all-encompassing life assistant, and Winarsky said that this decision has likely led Apple to search "for a level of perfection they can't get."

Although unconfirmed, the new voice changes to ‌Siri‌ may be Apple's latest attempt to make the voice assistant more personable and easy to talk to, in the wake of ongoing user complaints. If the changes roll out to other regions, we'll update this article.

(Thanks Sebastian, Robert, and Jared!)

Related Roundup: HomePod

Top Rated Comments

Nicomonkeyboy Avatar
43 months ago
"Siri - what's Brexit?"

It's fahkin' disaster innit, you mug...
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zarmanto Avatar
43 months ago
That's all well and good... but it boggles my mind that seemingly simple directions yield the proverbial, "I can't do that, Dave." response from Siri, on my iPhone.

* Hey Siri, lock my iPhone. (When you notice that someone has your iPhone and is rifling through your personal stuff without permission, for instance.)
* Hey Siri, turn off my iPhone. ("No Siri... I don't need directions on how to turn off my iPhone; I wanted you to do it.")
* Hey Siri, read this webpage to me. (When your eyes are otherwise occupied by something more important, such as driving.)
* Hey Siri, open google.com in Chrome. ("No Siri... that's Safari. I said Chrome." Same issue with Firefox, obviously.)
* Hey Siri, open Notes and take dictation for me. (All of the necessary sub-components are right there waiting to be invoked... it's basically just the front door itself that's closed! Am I the only person who wants to do this -- and not pay Dragon's hefty price for the privilege?)
* Hey Siri, do any damned thing period when I'm off the grid. (Yeah... apparently that's just never going to happen, because Siri lives entirely in the cloud.)

"All-encompassing life assistant"? Yeah... not so much.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jonnyb098 Avatar
43 months ago
I'd love for them to fix whatever bug it is causing Siri to say "just a sec" and pause for 10-20 seconds every time I ask to play music. All other voice commands work instantly.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nitramluap Avatar
43 months ago
The reason you haven’t noticed any changes to the US version of Siri is because they ALREADY made Siri’s voice more natural for that accent - about a year ago!

The other English Siri versions were left unchanged, sounding more robotic with limited inflexions. It’s the single reason I use the US Siri voice and not the Australian voice. When they update the Siri voice on iOS devices for the more natural Australian voice, I’ll change it. The US Siri voice is a little too ‘chirpy Californian bimbo’ for me, despite it sounding realistic.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
G5isAlive Avatar
43 months ago
Well it can only get better right? But I don't think more natural sounding voices were on the top of anyone's wish list.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shaunp Avatar
43 months ago
Is it now going to do a Geordie or a Scouse accent? That would be ace.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Purple Lineup Feature

Will the iPhone 14 Be a Disappointment?

Saturday May 21, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
With around four months to go before Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 14 lineup, the overwhelming majority of rumors related to the new devices so far have focused on the iPhone 14 Pro, rather than the standard iPhone 14 – leading to questions about how different the iPhone 14 will actually be from its predecessor, the iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are expected...
apple ar headset concept 1

Apple's Headset Said to Feature 14 Cameras Enabling Lifelike Avatars, Jony Ive Has Remained Involved With Design

Friday May 20, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Earlier this week, The Information's Wayne Ma outlined struggles that Apple has faced during the development of its long-rumored AR/VR headset. Now, in a follow-up report, he has shared several additional details about the wearable device. Apple headset render created by Ian Zelbo based on The Information reporting For starters, one of the headset's marquee features is said to be lifelike...
sony headphones 1

Sony's New WH-1000XM5 Headphones vs. Apple's AirPods Max

Friday May 20, 2022 12:18 pm PDT by
Sony this week came out with an updated version of its popular over-ear noise canceling headphones, so we picked up a pair to compare them to the AirPods Max to see which headphones are better and whether it's worth buying the $400 WH-1000XM5 from Sony over Apple's $549 AirPods Max. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. First of all, the AirPods Max win out when it comes ...
apple music

Apple Increases Apple Music Subscription Price for Students in Several Countries

Sunday May 22, 2022 1:57 am PDT by
Apple has silently increased the price of its Apple Music subscription for college students in several countries, with the company emailing students informing them their subscription would be slightly increasing in price moving forward. The price change is not widespread and, based on MacRumors' findings, will impact Apple Music student subscribers in but not limited to Australia, the...
iPhone 13 Face ID

'High-End' iPhone 14 Front-Facing Camera to Cost Apple Three Times More

Monday May 23, 2022 7:05 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 will feature a more expensive "high-end" front-facing camera with autofocus, partly made in South Korea for the first time, ET News reports. Apple reportedly ousted a Chinese candidate to choose LG Innotek, a South Korean company, to supply the iPhone 14's front-facing camera alongside Japan's Sharp. The company is said to have originally planned to switch to LG for the iPhone...