Apple has revealed a new feature that will allow iPhones and iPads to generate digital playbacks of a user’s voice.
The Personal Voice feature, expected as part of iOS 17, will work with the Live Speech feature to allow users to record their voice and communicate with others via audio calls or platforms such as FaceTime.
Users can create a personal voice reading along with a random set of text prompts to record 15 minutes of audio on iPhone or iPad.
The Live Speech feature then allows users to type messages on the device to be read aloud.
If they use certain phrases a lot, these can be saved as shortcuts.
If they have created a personal voice model, they can play the phrases in their own voice, otherwise they are read by the digital assistant of the Siri device.
It is aimed at people who suffer from certain conditions, such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) that could lead to them losing the ability to speak in the future.
Philip Green, board member and ALS advocate at the charity Team Gleason, has undergone significant changes in his voice since being diagnosed with ALS in 2018.
She said: “At the end of the day, the most important thing is being able to communicate with friends and family.
“If you can tell them you love them, in a voice that sounds like you, it makes all the difference in the world — and being able to create your own synthetic voice on your iPhone in just 15 minutes is amazing.”
The feature is among a slew of new tools coming to Apple devices later this year, though the company wouldn’t be more specific about timing.
Another, called Point And Speak, will allow users to point their finger at something in front of the camera and the app will read text on or near it, such as a person using it to read text on microwave buttons.
This feature will only work on Apple devices with a built-in LIDAR sensor, among the tech giant’s most expensive iPhone and iPad models.
The news comes ahead of the Worldwide Developers’ Conference on June 5, where Apple is also expected to reveal its first virtual reality headset.