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Why Apple upset men with a Siri mistake in iPhone4s voice choice

Anyone who’s picked up an iPhone 4s will know that the voice recognition software Siri is part of the phone. Now if you get it in the UK, it comes with a man’s voice, in other countries you get the male or female voice.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out why Apple has limited the voices for now – you can bet extra voices will come, just like they have for Sat Navs and Tom Toms (like this Scottish Sat Nav voice by Whyte & Mackay Master Blender Richard Paterson), and some will be charged for.

But in the meantime that means there’s going to be a lot of angry men with their iPhone 4s…

Psychology tests on SatNavs and other units with speech have shown that at a subconscious level people react differently to different voices with one of the most common findings being that men cannot stand being told what to do by other men and are more likely to argue with what they say (or dismiss it) while many females prefer to have a male voice speak to them instead of a female voice.

(I thought this was piffle until I did a random survey of my friends and it turned out that – to a person – where they had the choice, they had changed their SatNav voice to that of the opposite sex. Most did so without knowing why, just that they preferred to hear the opposite sex voice.)

If I can find the link to the research, I’ll post it up (and I just found this post which argues the opposite) but in the meantime, if you see someone getting grumpy with their phone, now you know why.

*And before anyone asks, yes it is possible to change the voice to female but only if you chance the country that the phone is in. Go into Settings/General/International/Voice Control – the Aus version is female.

**General thoughts on the phone (upgrading from a 3GS) – It’s OK. I like the white front and FaceTime. It’s definitely louder in ringtone than the 3GS. It’s buggy for connecting to home networks with passwords. Was it worth all the fuss? Probably not. Is Siri? Definitely not, especially in countries with poor wifi and 3G availability, like Scotland. But it shows how well Apple nailed it with the 3GS onwards that the OS has evolved and not been overhauled.

***And it would be rude not to include this:


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