Siri, which is credited with providing a personality to Apple’s iPhone was introduced to the world on 4th October 2011. However, the recordings that power Siri’s digital voice were done way back in 2005 by Susan Bennett, an American voice-over artist.
I recorded four hours a day, five days a week for a month. The process is called concatenation, and the reason the original Siri was so iconic is because she was the first concatenated voice to actually sound human. – Susan Bennett
Bennett did not even know that her voice was being used by Apple for Siri. She only became aware she was the voice of Siri when a friend contacted her through an email in October 2011 with a message saying “Hey, we’re playing around with this new iPhone. Isn’t this you?”
So, I went on the Apple site to hear the voice and recognized myself right away. I had a lot of different feelings about it. I was flattered that my voice had been chosen, but it was strange not to have known about it in advance. – Susan Benette
Her son, Cameron Bennett, was equally surprised when he saw an iPhone 4S commercial on the television, he was puzzled to see director Martin Scorsese talking to his mother.
When Cameron bought the iPhone himself, it was his mother guiding him with road directions.
Her voice has been everywhere throughout my life. I’d call my bank while I was in college in Colorado, and it was my mom telling me I had $4 – Cameron Bennett
It was on 4th October 2013, exactly two years after Apple’s virtual “assistant” was introduced to the world that her identity as the original voice of Siri was revealed by CNN.
I can’t tell you how freeing it was to make that decision,” she said. “I’d been torturing myself for two years. – Susan Bennett, CNN
Does Siri Have An Attitude Problem?
After her identity was revealed, Bennett also explained one reason as to why Siri at times appears to have an attitude and sounds snippy:
There are some people that just can read hour upon hour upon hour, and it’s not a problem. For me, I get extremely bored … So I just take breaks. That’s one of the reasons why Siri might sometimes sound like she has a bit of an attitude. Those sounds might have been recorded the last 15 minutes of those four hours. – Susan Bennett
Susan Bennett has done voice over work for many top brands like McDonald’s, Delta Airlines, Coca Cola and others.