Siri Revealed: CNN Finds the iPhone's Voice (Report)
While Apple won't confirm the identity of the woman who provided the audio for its virtual assistant, various experts tell the cable network it's right.
CNN has revealed the original voice of Siri.
The cable news network stumbled upon the woman who spent two years as the U.S. voice of Apple's virtual assistant while doing a story on Atlanta's airport.
Siri, also known as Susan Bennett, also does some of the voiceovers in Delta's terminals.
While the ever secretive Apple won't confirm that Bennett is the voice on their iPhones, the suburban Atlanta resident, people who work with her, her legal representatives and an audio-forensics expert all say that she's Siri.
Bennett is a voiceover actor who signed a contract in 2005 with what is now Nuance Communications, the company widely accepted to have provided Apple with its Siri technology, to record her voice for a database used to construct speech. She spent hours recording nonsensical phrases and sentences so tech experts could use her voice for things like GPS and telephone systems. She didn't know how her voice would be used but was paid by the hour and moved on to her next job.
Then when Apple's iPhone 4S, the first model with Siri, was introduced, friends began asking her if she was the soon-to-be famous virtual assistant they were hearing.
When she listened to the voice clips announcing Siri on Apple's website, Bennett said she knew it was her voice. Her son also recognized her voice when he heard her in the Martin Scorsese Siri ad and on his iPhone, prompting him to yell, "Mom, stop!"
Apple declined to comment to CNN and Nuance told the cable network that they don't comment on Apple. But CNN got additional confirmation that Bennett is the voice on many people's phones.
Her attorney said that he's "engaged in substantial negotiations -- multiple, months-long negotiations -- with parties along the economic food chain, so to speak, that involved her rendering services as the voice of Siri."
And the CEO of the company that first recommended her to what is now Nuance, Marcus Graham of GM Voices, who worked with her for 25 years and has recorded "millions of words with her" knows her voice and didn't hesitate to tell CNN that's she's "definitely" the voice of Siri.
CNN also hired an audio-forensics expert with 30 years of experience who's analyzed "hundreds, if not thousands" of recordings and testified in courts.
After comparing Siri to Bennett's voice, including her saying the same words, he said the voice "100 percent" belongs to Bennett.
Bennett, however, stayed silent until other outlets recently began reporting that another woman was Siri, and thought it was time to reveal her secret.
"I really had to weigh the importance of it for me personally. I wasn't sure that I wanted that notoriety, and I also wasn't sure where I stood legally. And so, consequently, I was very conservative about it for a long time," she said. "And then … [recently] 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."
Bennett's reign as the voice of Siri in the U.S. is coming to an end, however, with Apple's iOS 7, which features new Siri voices.
Apple declined to comment to The Hollywood Reporter, as well.
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