iPhone users can FINALLY unlock their smartphone while wearing a mask as Apple launches iOS 15.4 update – which also includes a ‘gender-neutral’ Siri and a pregnant MAN emoji
- Apple’s new update iOS 15.4 allows mask wearers to unlock phones with Face ID
- The firm has also added a fifth voice for its American Siri in the iOS 15.4 update
- New Apple emoji including a pregnant man are also available with the update
Apple has finally rolled out its much-anticipated iOS 15.4 update, allowing iPhone users to unlock their smartphone while wearing a mask.
The update also includes 37 new emoji, including a pregnant man, a motorcycle tyre, a slide, a disco ball, a troll with a club, coral, kidney beans and a low battery.
There’s also a new ‘gender neutral’ voice for its smart assistant Siri, called Quinn, recorded by a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
‘iOS 15.4 offers the ability to use Face ID while wearing a mask, a new Siri voice option, expanded language support for Visual Lookup, new emoji, and much more,’ Apple said.
Here’s a look at the key features in iOS 15.4, which is available now on the iPhone 16s or later.
Apple has finally rolled out its much-anticipated iOS 15.4 update, allowing iPhone users to unlock their smartphone while wearing a mask
How to unlock your iPhone with a mask
UNLOCK WITH A MASK
Nearly two years since the Covid pandemic started, Apple is finally letting iPhone users unlock their iPhone with Face ID when wearing a face mask.
Face ID, Apple’s facial recognition system, has finally received the all-important update as part of iOS 15.4.
‘iPhone will now include an option that enables users to unlock Face ID while wearing a mask,’ Apple said.
‘Once enrolled, iPhone can recognize the unique features around the eye area to authenticate.
‘Face ID while wearing a mask can be used as authentication for unlocking iPhone, completing transactions with Apple Pay, and autofilling passwords in apps and Safari.’
However, while iOS 15.4 is available for all iPhone models from iPhone 6s, the ability to unlock your smartphone while wearing a mask will only be available to those with an iPhone 12 or later.
– Pregnant Man
– Pregnant Person
– Nest with Eggs
– Mirror Ball
– Low Battery
From a pregnant man to a biting lip, the 37 new emojis coming to iPhones were revealed at the end of January.
The pregnant man and pregnant person recognise that ‘pregnancy is possible for some transgender men and non-binary people’, says Emojipedia, which is part of the California-based Unicode Consortium, the central bank of all approved emoji.
But the two new pregnant emoji could also potentially be used as ‘a tongue-in-cheek way to display a food baby’, a very full stomach caused by eating a large meal.
iOS 15.4 also includes seven brand new smiley emojis, including Melting Face, Dotted Line Face, Face Holding Back Tears and Face with Diagonal Mouth.
‘Users can now choose separate skin tones for each hand in the handshake emoji,’ Apple added.
Other additions include a motorcycle tyre, a slide, a disco ball, a troll with a club, coral, kidney beans and a low battery.
The Unicode Consortium officially signed off candidates for the emoji release, version 14.0, last September.
New emojis have arrived on iOS as part of the first iOS 15.4 beta. These include a melting face, pregnant man, mirror disco ball, and multi-racial handshake emojis
HOW TO CHANGE SIRI’S VOICE AND ACCENT
To change the voice or accent of your smart assistant:
1. Open Settings
2. Tap ‘Siri & Search’
3. Tap ‘Siri Voice’
4. In the ‘Variety’ section, choose between American, Australian, British, Indian, Irish or South African
5. In the ‘Voice’ section, tap through the options and choose your favourite
But companies including Apple, Google and Microsoft apply stylised versions of the consortium’s designs to their own operating systems.
Apple’s were revealed by Emojipedia in a blog post published on January 27, the same day iOS 15.4 arrived in beta.
While Siri is best known for its original, female voice, with iOS 15.4 users can opt for a new ‘gender-neutral’ voice, called Quinn.
The tech giant has confirmed that the new voice was recorded by a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but did not offer any further details.
‘Siri now has a new voice for English speakers, giving users more options to choose a voice that speaks to them,’ Apple said.
‘The new Siri voice leverages Neural Text to Speech technology for an incredibly natural sound.’
While the new voice is simply called ‘Voice 5’ on the iPhone, its filename refers to the voice as Quinn, according to iOS developer Steve Moser.
Users opting for an American Siri have a choice of five voices for their smart assistant.
A video posted to Twitter by The Verge reporter Jon Porter demonstrates the various voices in action.
While Siri is best known for its original, female voice, users will soon be able to opt for a new ‘gender-neutral’ voice, called Quinn. Apple is launching the new voice in its next iOS update
Voices 1 and 3 are low-pitched male voices, while Voices 2 and 4 are more high-pitched female voices, while the new Voice 5 is not distinctly male or female.
It comes just under a year after Apple stopped defaulting to its original female voice, and launched two new options.
Other updates coming with iOS 15.4 are vaccination records in the Health App and an Apple Card widget in the Today view.
APPLE UNVEILS NEW 5G IPHONE SE, IPAD AIR WITH M1 CHIP AND MAC STUDIO
Apple has unveiled new versions of its lower end iPhone and iPad devices, that incorporate the same processors as the top end models.
The iPhone SE will be on sale for $429 from Friday, and comes with the Apple A15 Bionic chip, found in the iPhone 13, a 12 megapixel camera, and 5G connectivity.
It will be able to operate about 26 times faster than the iPhone 8, and includes ‘Live Text’, allowing users to copy text found in a picture, Apple confirmed.
The firm also released a new iPad Air, which includes the M1 processor found in the iPad Pro, a faster USB-C port for faster video transfer, and a 12 megapixel ultra-wide camera on the front of the device.
Tim Cook, Apple CEO, also announced a new computer called Mac Studio, featuring the new high end M1 Ultra processor, and an Apple built Studio Display with its own built-in A13 Bionic chip and built in ultra-wide camera.
Read more: Apple unveils new 5G iPhone SE, iPad Air with M1 chip and Mac Studio
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