Susan Bennett of suburban Atlanta says she is the voice of the original U.S. version of Siri on Apple’s iPhone.
Bennett told CNN, eight years after lending her voice to a 2005 project for ScanSoft, which eventually acquired Nuance, the company that powers Siri. As a result, Bennett did not know she would one day be the voice behind a pop culture icon. When Siri was released on the iPhone 4S in 2011, it was friends who recognized her voice and filled her in.
Bennett, who did not own the smartphone, went online and listened to clips announcing the groundbreaking technology, and she knew it was her.
“It’s obviously me,” she said. “It’s my voice.”
But Bennett — who has recorded voiceovers used for GPS devices and terminals announcing Delta Airlines flights — was used to keeping her anonymity, even though several friends and relatives tried to get her to speak up.
“I really had to weigh the importance of it for me,” she told the news station. “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.”
But she changed her mind when Apple announced its new operating system, iOS7 — which included new Siri voices — and The Verge, a technology news outlet, posted a video that suggested another woman was behind the original iconic voice.
“And 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,’” she said.