A new Apple patent application describes a way to transform an iMessage to a voice note. In this way, the recipient can choose to have your message read to them not in Siri’s voice, but in yours.
To do this, you would each need to share a voice file containing the data the iPhone would need to mimic your voice when reading the message aloud …
You can of course already ask Siri to read an incoming text or iMessage using a “Read the text message” or “Read my latest message from Johnny Appleseed” command. Siri also offers to let you dictate a reply.
This feature is handy when driving, or at other times you can’t pick up your phone to read a message, like when you’re cooking or just walking down a busy street.
iMessage to voice note
Apple’s patent is an extension of this, as Patently Apple reports. It is of course written in the usual Victorian-sounding language common to patents.
in response to receiving a message from a contact named “John,” a user may desire to listen to the message in John’s voice, which enhances user experience while increasing efficiency of the device by eliminating the need for the user to read the received message […]
A voice model is obtained based on the plurality of speech inputs. A user input is received from the first user, the user input corresponding to a request to provide access to the voice model. The voice model is provided to a second electronic device. In some examples, a message is received from a respective user of a second electronic device. In response to receiving the message, a voice model of the respective user is received. Based on the voice model, an audio output corresponding to the received message is provided.
In other words, when you send an iMessage, your phone would offer you the option to attach a voice file. This file would be automatically created and stored on your phone, based on your use of Siri.
If you do this, the recipient would be asked whether they want to receive the voice file as well as the message. If they choose to do this, then both that message and any subsequent messages from you can be read in a simulation of your voice.
The patent also allows for the voice file to be sent on its own, so you can do it ahead of time with selected contacts, so there’s no delay in downloading it when a message arrives.
As with all Apple patents, there’s no way to know whether the company will ever turn it into a live feature, but it certainly seems something likely to prove appealing to many, and I could for sure see it being demo’d in an iPhone keynote.
What’s your view? Is iMessage to voice note a feature you’d like? Let us know in the comments.