Voice commands, and even more specifically voice to text, has been a feature that Apple has kind of ignored up to this point on its iOS devices. It’s also a feature that has certainly been a big hit with Google, and their Android customers. Sure Apple has given us Voice Control and the App Store may have several voice to text applications for the iPhone, but it would be so much better if it was built into the OS.

Well it looks like Apple might be after just that.  AppleInsider has discovered multiple job postings over at Apple.com that hint at some plans to give their ever popular iOS some major upgrades. The one in particular that stands out is the iOS Speech Operations Engineer posting, as current voice command options in iOS are lacking…

The iOS Application Frameworks team is looking for an exceptional Speech Server Engineer. You will deploy large-scale Speech systems and design/implement monitoring for lab, sandbox, and production environments. This position involves a wide variety of skills and innovation.

Voice Control, accessed by holding down your iPhone ‘Home’ button, is a nice idea, but nothing like the competition. I’ll admit that it’s cool that I can say “Play Daft Punk,” and all of a sudden I get a playlist of all my Daft Punk songs. But the coolness quickly wears off after the other 5 times I try it, I get responses like “No Match Found” or “Genius Not Available.” Even using the Apple in-line mic, the accuracy is lackluster.

The other option is to download a voice to text app from Apple’s App Store. The nice thing is you get apps from software companies with legendary backgrounds in dictation like Dragon and many others. But opening a 3rd party application every time I want to dictate text just doesn’t compete with a native solution. I want the option of using my voice or my fingers every time there’s a text field.

So does this job posting mean iOS 5 will certainly have native voice to text? Not really. But does it give some of us, iPhone users who watch jealously as our Android-toting comrades talk their way through messages effortlessly some hope? You bet.

In my opinion a native voice to text solution for iOS can’t be too far off. Not only to keep up with the competition but in a world where texting and driving is becoming the new drunk driving and text messaging itself is more popular than ever before, Apple has got to take this feature a little more seriously.

What do you guys think? Is anyone else awaiting voice to text or more voice command features? Tell us below.

 

  • no, i talk all day at my job. and at home. i just want to quietly sit and text/read. i don’t want to talk to a computer.

  • but very helpful while driving…

  • I would personally never use voice commands if I could avoid it. I much prefer the precision of entering commands manually.

  • garrett

    An intuitive and accurate voice command system, or at minimum feature for texting would be great. I don’t condone texting and driving but voice to text and driving is merely the same a typical phone conversation in the car. Throw in the ability to pair to a bluetooth and I’m sold.

  • bluebonnet

    voice to text would be very helpful.

  • Angela

    You bet! The voice control on the iPhone4 could definetly use some upgrades! I will look forward to hearing more about this. I owned a blackberry for a very long time. I tried Android and Palm. Still nothing but Apple has won me over. Please upgrade the voice control and I promise you I won’t think about my blackberry ever again.

  • shanetastic

    I have an android phone and I have become dependent on voice control. I drive a lot for work and I can’t tell you how much easier it makes my life to be able to hold down the search button and then be able to say something like, “text Jim I’ll be there in 10 minutes” or “navigate to gas station”.

    I plan on switching to the iPhone 5 this summer and voice control is the one thing that I know I will miss.

    I think that the iPhone is still the most elegant and they got revolutionized the smartphone, but android has really gotten ahead in terms of features. Now ios is playing catch-up.

  • Reggie-Reg

    Voice to text would be a great feature to add. Can’t wait til apple steps up and adds it. Can’t wait to hear my text as I work and not have to stop and read them everytime. This is a great article. Keep us posted on all possible updates and ideas.

    • Carl

      Check setting n go to accessibility n put on voice over when ur driving. It will read everything to you. It was made for blind people to have the ability to operate an iphone.

    • Carl

      Check setting n go to accessibility n put on voice over when ur driving. It will read everything to you.

  • Bill

    Speech to text needs to implemented into the iPhone. I’ve tried other 3rd party apps and the functionality is limited especially on a Bluetooth. Dragon Dictation works the best but I’m still having to take my eyes of the road to choose a recipient then paste the message into the heading. A distraction that I wish I could avoid.
    In regards to safety, there is no question texting & driving is very dangerous. Apple has to move forward ASAP with a voice activated solution.

  • Bill

    Speech to text needs to implemented into the iPhone. I’ve tried other 3rd party apps and the functionality is limited especially on a Bluetooth. Dragon Dictation works the best but I’m still having to take my eyes of the road to choose a recipient then paste the message into the heading. A distraction that I wish I could avoid.

  • Thanks For Giving Info

  • Its interesting that Speech to Text is the focus of possible changes to the Apple OS. There isn’t anyone out there on the front lines of the texting while driving issue that thinks that any Speech to Text software is anything other that just another form of texting while driving. Still fumbling with technology instead of focusing on the 5,000 pounds of steel and glass they sitting in.

    I decided to do something about distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. It also silences call ringtones while driving unless you have a bluetooth enabled. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.

    I would love to have already built OTTER for the iPhone but the OS does not allow 3rd party apps like ours to run freely on their system. Specifically I need to be able to know when a text is being received and I need to be able to access the notification alerts for the phone. Pretty basic access available on Android, Blackberry and Symbian. We think the day that Apple allows this is not far away. We like their product and can’t wait to develop OTTER for Apple. I know it will save many lives… and it would insure that my iPhone toting wife wasn’t tempted by a distracting ringtone on her way home tonight.

    Erik Wood, owner
    OTTER LLC
    OTTER app

  • Matt

    One thing Android definately has a leg up on Apple with is their voice to text. If IOS plans to stay ahead of the curve or at least stay from falling behind it, this needs to be a big focus. I don’t doubt that their solution will be epic but it is far from timely. Well written article though.

  • Maggie

    I’d love a voice activated text tool – I don’t really text while driving but would love to be able to hit a quick reply while sitting at a redlight. I did try to find the Otter app and think it would be wonderful for parents looking to control the texting habits of teens while in the car or at school. Great idea.

  • John

    This is about much more that texting while driving. It’s for those of us who don’t handle the touch pad very well and realize that speech recognition within any field that requires text would be much faster and easier to use, I don’t care whether I’m doing a search in Goggle or replying to a lengthy email.

    I don’t text at all, but I can sure see a need for the feature this blog started with.

  • Jelo

    The worst thing about iPhone voice control is that it doesn’t stay open long enough to be of any real use. It closes if you don’t give a command quick enough or even if you do it closes right afterward. So j still constantly have to pick up the device and press a button…so since I already have it in my hand am pressing buttons I might as well just continue using it that way since it’s just as fast and easy and won’t kick me off the application until I’m ready to exit it. Not very convenient when you need a real hands-free solution.

  • Michael

    I came off the android platform and the voice to text feature is one of the main reasons that I’m actually considering going back to android. I think that this is a “must have” native feature. On Android, I used to just hit the mic icon and start talking. It worked great. This is a huge gap in Apples IOS, IMO.