The (British) Voice of Siri Asked to Keep Quiet by Apple

Illustration for article titled The (British) Voice of Siri Asked to Keep Quiet by Apple

The British voiceover artist who provided the male voice for Siri only discovered he had been included in the iPhone 4S after seeing it demonstrated on TV — and was then asked not to talk about it by Apple's PR people.

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Jon Briggs is the man in question. He was completely unaware of his involvement in Siri, as the spoken lines used by Apple in the product — over 5,000 of them — were recorded separately around six years ago. Apple just bought them from an agency.

That's all pretty standard business so far, but it all gets a little odd after the launch of iPhone 4S and its Siri feature, when Briggs received a call from an "Apple representative" who asked him not to talk about his role in the product.

The Apple employee said Apple is "not about one person" and requested Briggs stay quiet about his role, as Apple employees are not allowed to talk about their involvement in product development. But Jon didn't and doesn't work for Apple so, in his familiar and characteristic manner, he laughed and went and did an interview with the Telegraph about it.

If you'd like to hear "Siri" used in another environment, the same set of dialogue from Jon is also used for the passenger announcements at London's King's Cross Station, plus he's also on quite a few satnavs, and is the man who fills us in on the scoring stats on the British TV show The Weakest Link. [Telegraph via TNW via Gizmodo UKThanks, Darrell!]


Illustration for article titled The (British) Voice of Siri Asked to Keep Quiet by Apple
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DISCUSSION

Well, I'm a former Apple employee. The whole "Apple is not about one person" shit is what they also like use to make you feel bad after saying anything about having to work 10 days back to back and not receiving proper breaks. They promote the idea that you should think of working at Apple as a privilege and that should come before everything else in your life.

I left Apple seven months ago, but since they didn't even allow me to leave the company properly, I'm not going to follow their rules about talking about my experiences.

At one point during my employment I was sat down in a room with management for a "talking to". They had me sit in a chair while they stood around me. I was being questioned as to why I recently bought a house in a city other than where the store is located(which at the time was a 25 mile drive). I told them that was between me & my wife and that it was none of their business. The then asked me why I was getting so defensive to which I replied, "because you're asking me personal questions that have nothing to do with Apple. I'm not talking with you about my private matters". They replied with, "You may want to rethink your priorities if you want to stay with Apple". I replied, "My priority is my family and my wife and I decided to move close to home for personal family reasons, this questioning is over". They pushed again, "we just don't understand why you would want to distance yourself so much from the rest of your coworkers". I replied, "I want to be close to my birth home because both of my parents have health issues that are none of your damn business" I got up and walked out giving them no time to respond.

Also, when I decided to leave Apple I gave them the proper two weeks notice and even sent out a thank you email to the store thanking all of my friends at Apple for the strong friendships I had made there in the last five years. The main store manager and senior management never said anything to me again after initially giving them my two weeks notice. Midway through my final week they released schedules for the two coming weeks. I was on them both. I pointed this out to management as a major error. It was never fixed. Which means, instead of me leaving Apple with proper notice and of my own free will, they were just going to let the system fire me. After five years there was no way in hell I was going to let them completely screw my record with the company. Now traditionally, when you leave Apple you receive an exit interview where they talk about what you can and can't say and for how long, I was NEVER given this exit interview. My final Friday came, no managers said goodbye, nothing was said by them as I left, just dirty looks as my coworkers and customers that had become close friends gave me an almost five minute long clap-out as I walked through the store and hugged & shook hands with everyone there.

Now at Apple there is kind of an auto employee termination built into the clock-in system. If you don't clock in for your shift for so many days you are auto-terminated by corporate. The following Monday I logged in to see if it still worked, sure enough I was still on the schedule and still able to access everything. They were just going to let the system fire me. I had to call Apple HR and file a complaint to actually get the store to file the proper paperwork to show that I had indeed given notice and left on my own free will. Had I not contacted corporate HR directly my vacation cash-out would not have been sent to me on-time and I would have been up shit creek until my first paycheck at my new job rolled in.

So they are correct, "Apple is not about one person". They could give a shit less about "one person".

I could go on for hours about what I witnessed at Apple Keystone, Indianapolis, Store R066. Maybe the one about the time they lied to OSHA about store health conditions due to non working HVAC and temperatures exceeding 100 degrees in internal rooms. How store iPhones and computers were shutting themselves down because they were too hot and employees were sick and throwing up. They still made us come to work. I have email history with OSHA, video, and photographs to prove that Apple was lying, but I guess I shouldn't talk about these things because someone at Apple might come after me. (try it iBitches!)

Sorry for the rant, it's just that reading about Apple trying to pull that shit on someone that isn't even an Apple employee just really rubbed me the wrong way this morning.