Forget Russia's nuclear armament, Ukraine, inflation, crime waves, and gas prices. Apple has tapped into the single greatest concern on everyone's minds: gender-neutral voice assistance. A month after its "pregnant man" emoji was the punching bag of social media, Tim Cook has out-woked himself. To appease the five people who felt slighted by the overtly male and female options for Siri, Apple's "Voice 5" will strive to be neither.
The option, which will be a part of the iOS 15.4 beta, is "somewhat androgenous," Mac World previews, "difficult to pin down as explicitly male or female." The move, Apple says, is part of its "continued push for diversity." "We're excited to introduce a new Siri voice for English speakers, giving users more options to choose a voice that speaks to them," the company gushed. "Millions of people around the world rely on Siri every day to help get things done, so we work to make the experience feel as personalized as possible."
Of course, the most absurd part about this great unveiling is that we aren't even talking about a person -- we're talking about a disembodied voice from a cell phone. The voices were never male or female to begin with, because, in case people missed it, these are computers. Does Apple honestly believe that customers are shopping for a phone -- not based on basic things like privacy, security, useability, or cost -- but whether the voice settings have the appropriate amount of testosterone?
Last year, as part of its bizarre fixation on gender politics, Apple stopped making Siri's female voice the default, crediting the United Nations. There, an agency had argued that it carried "a risk of spreading problematic gender stereotypes and regularizing one-sided, command-based verbal exchanges with women." (Let's hope the U.N. has better things to occupy its time now that Ukraine is at war.)
Just like real men can't be pregnant, phones will never be people. As usual, Apple is stepping out on a limb to make an absurd point that there is zero market demand for. On the contrary, what Americans want is for companies to stay out of the culture wars. According to Scott Rasmussen's polling, 59 percent of the country thinks companies taking political positions "adds to the divisiveness." And half of Democrats agreed! A full 66 percent believe corporations should not be taking political positions at all. (Again, including over half of Democrats.) Since no one but the fringe Left is lobbying for this radical redefinition of gender, it stands to reason that this message is for Apple: stop picking sides.