ChatGPT-4o Advanced Voice features — OpenAI just revealed when they’re coming

ChatGPT-4o logo on phone
(Image credit: Future)

Somewhat sad news emerged from OpenAI late on Tuesday after the AI lab confirmed it is delaying the launch of its much anticipated and heavily hyped ChatGPT Advanced Voice Mode.

First demoed during the company’s Spring Update, the plan was to have a small group of ChatGPT Plus users get early access to the new features in late June so that they can test it and provide feedback to OpenAI. 

However, that plan needs to be tweaked as OpenAI said it needs one more month to reach its “bar to launch”. This includes ensuring it meets safety requirements and responses happen in real-time to even the most complex queries.

It appears some safety issues cropped up during testing, as the company said on X that it’s using the extra time to improve the model’s ability to detect and refuse certain content. It also added that it’s working on improving the user experience and is scaling its systems to be able to maintain real-time responses.

While some users "should" get access next month, most people with a free or even paid ChatGPT account will be waiting a few months.  This has led to some opting to cancel ChatGPT Plus until the new mode launches.

'Closer than ever' to natural conversations with AI

The company said the precise timeline depends on meeting its high safety and reliability bar. OpenAI says it will be relying on the earlier groups to gather feedback and tweak ChatGPT according to what’s needed.

This only applies to voice. Work is also still ongoing when it comes to ChatGPT’s new video and screen-sharing abilities, also revealed during the Spring Update and in subsequent teaser videos. 

OpenAI said it will release further updates on its timeline in the future about the video and screen-sharing capabilities, but gave no specific details.

The company also highlighted some of the benefits of its new Voice Mode, writing: "ChatGPT’s advanced Voice Mode can understand and respond with emotions and non-verbal cues, moving us closer to real-time, natural conversations with AI. Our mission is to bring these new experiences to you thoughtfully."

Users not happy at further delay

Some users were unhappy at the delay. People on Reddit shared that they felt “played” with and others claimed they canceled their subscription to the paid version of ChatGPT. They said they only signed up because they were eager to be among the first to try out these new features but it seems that will be a closed group.

Others took to X to complain, arguing they felt like the rug had been pulled under their feet and that Advanced Voice was going the way of Sora — with concerns over safety leading to never-ending delays.

OpenAI introduced back-and-forth conversation abilities to ChatGPT in 2023 but GPT-4o’s advanced voice tools were meant to add even more expression into the AI’s responses while also allowing it to pick up on the way you speak.

This is because GPT-4o is natively able to understand speech and respond directly with speech. The previous version first converted to text which caused delays and made the conversation more jarring. 

The news about the delay in these new voice features come a month after OpenAI paused its ‘Sky’ voice in ChatGPT after actress Scarlett Johansson accused the company of copying her voice. OpenAI denies using her voice.

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Christoph Schwaiger

Christoph Schwaiger is a journalist who mainly covers technology, science, and current affairs. His stories have appeared in Tom's Guide, New Scientist, Live Science, and other established publications. Always up for joining a good discussion, Christoph enjoys speaking at events or to other journalists and has appeared on LBC and Times Radio among other outlets. He believes in giving back to the community and has served on different consultative councils. He was also a National President for Junior Chamber International (JCI), a global organization founded in the USA. You can follow him on Twitter @cschwaigermt.