Sunday, December 3rd is International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and to mark the day, Apple has released a short film directed by Taika Waititi. The film, shot in New Zealand, stars a young girl and a menagerie of fanciful creatures searching for one of their voices. The narrative is told in rhyme in a style that’s reminiscent of a children’s book, which foreshadows the final scene of the video between a father and his daughter, which I won’t spoil. The narrator is Dr. Tristram Ingham, a physician from Taika Waititi’s hometown in New Zealand who has a rare form of muscular dystrophy and uses Personal Voice to narrate the film.
The video is a touching way of promoting Personal Voice, an important new accessibility feature of iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma. Users record 15 minutes of themselves speaking, which is processed privately, on-device, creating a facsimile of their voice. It’s an invaluable feature for anyone who is at risk of losing their voice as a result of a disease or disability.
As Apple explains in its press release, the voice that is created is stored locally on the device on which it is recorded but can be stored in iCloud and shared with up to three devices. If you choose to use iCloud, voice data is end-to-end encrypted. The device on which you record your voice must be password-protected, too.
The film released today also highlights Live Speech, a feature of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS that allows users to type responses that are spoken aloud in a system-generated voice or your Personal Voice. You can learn more about setting up Personal Voice and using Live Speech from this Apple Support video on YouTube:
Alongside the video released today is a free ebook version of the story told in the video, which is designed to continue the conversation about voice loss and help people faced with losing their voices.