Meet The Man Who Became The Voice Of Siri Without Even Knowing It

Meet The Man Who Became The Voice Of Siri Without Even Knowing It

Apple doesn’t really like it when its employees speak to the press. Like, at all. So it’s interesting to see a British voice actor who provided the male voice For Siri — arguably the voice of Apple these days — openly speaking to journalists about how he came to speak for every iPhone 4S on Earth, especially considering Cupertino tried to muzzle him.

Siri’s UK male voice is provided by Jon Briggs, and curiously, he never even knew he was the voice of Siri until he caught a new iPhone 4S commercial and recognized his own posh cadence.

As it turns out, all of Siri’s spoken lines had been sold to an agency six years before, which Apple just ended up licensing. Not uncommon in the voice acting biz, apparently.

Where things get weird, though, is when Briggs suddenly received a call from an Apple representative who told him not to talk about Siri or his involvement with the iPhone 4S. He was apparently told Apple is “not about one person” and told Briggs he should maybe shut it.

Of course, Briggs isn’t employed by Apple, and there’s no reason he can’t spout off about how he became the voice of Siri if he doesn’t want to. And boy, I’m glad he did. Makes you wonder if your voice is rattling around on some Android phone out there somewhere.

  • A Name

    Siri vs Pendulum: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  • bolehillbilly

    At last. It’s been bugging me for ages who the voice belonged to. Have been searching through radio 4 presenters to pin it down. But obviously he’s best known as the narrator on the Weakest link. Can finally sleep at night.

  • Gene

    It’s interesting that so many people are caught up with this “voice of Siri” business — those voices have been on the iPhone for years as part of VoiceOver. In fact, they’re also on the Mac.
    Which shows that many people don’t have a clue about the depth of functionality on their devices.

  • CharliK

    Before anyone gets all up in arms about the alleged call from Apple and what was allegedly said and how it was phrased, understand that typically stock voice over contracts such as what this guy may have signed when he was paid to record a bunch of random lines (which were as Gene mentions also very possible in VoiceOver on the iPhones and computers) include clauses about how you get zero rights to claim credit for having ‘acted in’ projects that licensed your voice. It’s a bit like saying I was in Iron Man when in fact I was in the background barely in focus and saying nothing. Hardly the same as having an actual role. 

    The way this gentleman has been talking he may have been implying that he was hired directly by Apple to do this exact project which isn’t true and is thus a kind of false advertising. Perhaps he wasn’t trying to come off that way but just how he was saying it gives that impression. And the call may have been simply to remind him that no he wasn’t hired for this and needs to stop making it seem like he was and the message is being exaggerated (perhaps for more free press). 

  • Jdsonice

    Really? This is what is keeping you at nights? You are very lucky. Most people have a lot more on their minds. :)

  • bolehillbilly

    Very bored at the moment! On a bit of medical leave. 
    Also having trouble with what film did I last see that actor in and who originally wrote that song. 
    I have a lot of time to kill:)

  • McCharley Okafor

    LMAO! mhen…..

  • Honyant

    Sorry but that’s just semantics. Apple wanted his voice and paid for it. How they went about it doesn’t make much difference. He certainly has a leading role in Siri. Apple trying to shut him up comes off pretty arrogant. Ther is nothing wrong with self promotion after all Apple had the Master of the art running the show.

  • Ohsiri

    See more from siri at http://www.ohrisi.net

  • CharliK

    It’s not just semantics. It’s contract agreements and truth in advertising. 

    Folks scream over Apple calling 720p video HD ‘when it isn’t’. they scream over ATT calling their service 4g ‘when it isn’t’ etc 

    But this guy implies he was hired by Apple etc and folks are like “Apple needs to get over themselves”

  • Honyant

    Are you saying that you know what was in his contract with the agency?

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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