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New Taika Waititi-directed Apple film shows how Personal Voice feature in iPhones can transform lives

Apple released a new short film yesterday, November 30, which narrates a heartwarming tale of a little girl and a mythical creature going on an adventurous journey through a forest and other landscapes to find her lost voice. It is directed by Taika Waititi of the Jojo Rabbit and Thor: Love and Thunder fame. The story works as an allegory to highlight the struggles of people with speech disability, and the climax brings it all together in a typical Waititi fashion. The ad highlights how the new iOS 17 feature Personal Voice on iPhones can help people through this disability.

The short film comes ahead of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3, a UN-observed day to promote the rights and well-being of people with disability in all spheres of society. The video has been posted to the official YouTube channel of Apple and has nearly 70 thousand views in less than a day.

Apple’s short film narrates the struggles of speech disability

The entire film is narrated by Tristram Ingham, a New Zealand native who’s suffering from facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), which causes progressive muscle degeneration starting in the face, shoulders, and arms, and can ultimately lead to the inability to speak, feed oneself, or in some cases, blink the eyes. According to a post by Apple Newsroom, in 2013, he began using a wheelchair, and in recent years he has noticed changes in his voice. The entire narration was done using the Personal Voice feature.

In the video, the girl and the creature search through forest, desert, and ocean in a quest to find the lost voice, which is at the end revealed to belong to Ingham, who is shown using his iPhone’s accessibility feature to read a bedtime story to his granddaughter.

“Disability communities are very mindful of proxy voices speaking on our behalf,” Ingham told Apple Newsroom. “Historically, providers have spoken for disabled people, family have spoken for disabled people. If technology can allow a voice to be preserved and maintained, that’s autonomy, that’s self-determination.”

Personal Voice on iPhones

Personal Voice is a machine learning-based feature that allows your iPhone the capability to speak in your voice. Your iPhone can create a replica of your voice and then synthesize the same voice to give the impression it is speaking in your voice. According to Apple, this feature has been introduced keeping those users in mind who are “at risk of losing their ability to speak — such as those with a recent diagnosis of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or other conditions that can progressively impact speaking ability”.



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