The new feature, which will allow iPhone and iPad users to generate synthetic versions of their voices, is part of a larger update aimed at making sure people with disabilities get the most from their Apple devices.
Personal Voice will allow users at risk of losing their ability to speak, such as those with a recent diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or other conditions, to replicate their voice.
Apple said that the process will be “simple and secure” and will only take 15 minutes. Users will be able to clone their voice by reading a randomised set of text prompts for a quarter of an hour on their iPhone or iPad.
Personal Voice, which is expected with the iOS 17 update, will work in tandem with the Live Speech feature that lets users type what they want to say and have it spoken out loud during phone calls or in-person conversations.
The most commonly used phrases can be saved as shortcuts.
Philip Green, board member and ALS advocate at the Team Gleason nonprofit, said the voice cloning feature was “extraordinary.”
“At the end of the day, the most important thing is being able to communicate with friends and family,” Green, who has experienced significant changes to his voice since being diagnosed with ALS in 2018, said.
He added: “If you can tell them you love them, in a voice that sounds like you, it makes all the difference in the world.”
Another update aimed at increasing accessibility includes Assistive Access, which will “distill apps and experiences to their essential features in order to lighten cognitive load,” Apple said.
Point and Speak is also coming at some time later this year. This will allow visually impaired users to “interact with physical objects that have several text labels,” for example, household items like a microwave.
The users will only have to point their finger at the device in front of the camera to learn what the text on each of its buttons says. The feature needs a LiDAR sensor to work, which is only available on pricier iPhone and iPad models.
Apple announced the new accessibility features ahead of the Global Accessibility Awareness Day, which falls on May 18th this year.