So after the huge hype, I just managed to update an iPhone 14 Pro Max to iOS 17 Beta. My observations follow:
1. I'm using Alex as my default voice. As iOS 17 came up, I noticed that Alex is using a relatively lower speech rate. My rate was 57 with iOS 16 and it was still set to 57. So I had to increase it a bit to replicate the iOS 16 experience. 58 or 59 does it I'd say.
2. Now VoiceOver voices have an extra Rotor option upon landing on each voice name in the Speech window of VoiceOver settings. So, apart from "Speak sample" we now have the "Open per-voice settings" Rotor item. But the more remarkable point is that for Eloquence voices we can adjust more settings compared with, say, Alex. With Eloquence we can adjust roughness, breathiness, pitch, and, more crucially, utilize a higher sample rate.
3. Of course, since Eloquence should apparently keep bugging us one way or another, the higher sample rate setting, which is now the default option, generates a noticeable sibilant sound especially when Eloquence utters "s" and "z" sounds. This is the first time I've heard Eloquence so sibilant over the past 2 decades. Of course, reducing the sample rate gets rid of the sibilance but re-introduces the so called older muffled/boxiness. Moreover, it seems that this updated Eloquence doesn't support user community dictionaries! As such, words like "Gmail" and "assistive" are still mispronounced - quite sorely!
I'll keep this post updated in the comments section. What else have you, early beta testers, found?