Apple and Taika Waititi Made a Sweet Film About Accessibility

Promoting Personal Voice in iOS 17

A small girl treks through the woods searching for a "lost voice" in Taika Waititi's short film for Apple. Her big, bunny-earned, bespectacled buddy—clearly an imaginary companion—leads the way.

"Why, oh why, creature, are you so quiet?" the hairy helper begins. "You've lost your voice? I'll help you find it! Maybe your voice is under this log. No voice there. Just this frog. Could it be up in that tree? Nothing to see."

Their journey, populated by cute anthropomorphic critters, crackles with hope—and hints of unease. Notably, the girl's escort has no mouth.

The narrative ultimately builds to an emotional reveal touting the company's Personal Voice feature launched in iOS 17.

Apple | The Lost Voice

At the end, we watch the girl falling asleep next to her bespectacled father. They've been sharing a storybook, with Personal Voice user Dr. Tristram Ingham, who plays the dad, using the tech to provide narration.

Ingham lives with a type of muscular dystrophy that can destroy one's ability to speak. Personal Voice helps him preserve and continue to use his vocal abilities.

Working through Hungry Man, Waititi shot the tale in his native New Zealand. While fanciful, it's also moody and a tad disorienting, qualities that work in its favor. They fit the subject matter, as losing one's voice surely comes as a perplexing and upsetting experience.

While iPhones can't offer a cure, their comms capabilities might be the next best thing. That message feels authentic, in line with the company's other recent efforts to explain the advantages its products and services bring to everyday life. Titled "The Lost Voice," the film serves as a thematic sequel to "The Greatest," Apple's lauded accessibility outing from last year.

Two minor quibbles. The whimsical "Yodeler" soundtrack by X Carbon works in context but sounds a tad twee to these ears. Also, the girl speaks several times, which feels confusing until the final frames. (Though perhaps this heightens the tale's aura of mystery.)

The work breaks ahead of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Dec. 3. Apple's internal team known as Marcom developed the campaign. The storybook is available as a free download.

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