Apple on Thursday unveiled a heartwarming film titled 'Lost Voice' which puts the spotlight on two new accessibility features that were recently rolled out, ahead of International Day for People with Disabilities that falls on December 3.
The features — Personal Voice and Live Speech — were rolled out with iOS 17 and illustrate how powerful they can be through a beautiful story.
Millions of people are at risk of losing their ability to speak due to a wide range of conditions such as muscular dystrophy or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known internationally as motor neurone disease (MND).
"Personal Voice uses secure on-device machine learning to sample and recreate your own voice, which means if you ever subsequently lose the ability to speak, you can continue to communicate through your iPhone, iPad or Mac (using another new feature called Live Speech) — and still sound like you," according to Apple.
The film tells the tale of a young girl and her pink, floppy-eared furry friend, as they search high and low for his missing voice, before revealing a uniquely personal moment between a father and a daughter. It is narrated entirely with Personal Voice, generated on iPhone.
The film was cast with a genuine user of Personal Voice to narrate and play the role of the father: Dr. Tristram Ingham.
Ingham is a physician, associate professor of epidemiology and a disability advocate from Wellington, New Zealand.
He has facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), which causes progressive muscle degeneration starting in the face, shoulders, and arms, and can ultimately lead to an inability to speak.
Personal Voice as a technology enables Ingham to preserve and continue to use his own voice well into the future.
For the shoot, Apple enlisted Oscar-winning director Taika Waititi.
Shot in Waititi's native New Zealand, the production features the beautiful natural landscapes of the country — including black sand beaches and rolling dunes.
How to setup Personal Voice and Live Speech on iPhone and iPad?
Create a voice that sounds like you if you are at risk of speech loss, to help communicate with your friends and family, so you can type out what you'd like to say using your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.