In the weeks building up to this year’s WWDC, there was a lot of speculation that Apple and Nuance were planning a major partnership to bring system-wide voice-to-text to iOS 5. The 2 companies were expected to make a big announcement at the Summer event.

But the developer’s conference came and went with no mention of the new feature. Then we started to see code trickle in.¬†Found deep inside Apple’s new firmware, the evidence suggested that the company was still working on bringing voice-to-text to its customers this Fall.

Now we don’t just have bits of code, we have actual proof. Hit the jump for the full screenshot…

9to5Mac just got sent over these exclusive screenshots of the new feature in action. As you can see, the new speech-to-text option can be activated by tapping the new microphone key, situated just to the left of the spacebar on the iOS keyboard.

Once the key is pressed, a grey overlay (pictured at the top) will appear as long as you are talking. When you’ve finished, the overlay will vanish and your spoken words will appear in the text field. I know, pretty standard stuff.

Another tidbit from the source was that this functionality is only planned for Apple’s smaller devices, such as the iPhone and iPod Touch. But iPad support is still technically possible.

Although 9to5Mac claims they received these screen grabs from a reliable tipster, they do warn that iOS 5 is still in beta testing and the feature is subject to change. The real question now is this: How well is this thing going to work?


  • ic0edx

    No matter how cool it is, it will never work good. A lot of people have accent and it will always give problems. I tried Dragon and it always misinterpreted what I was trying to say. So I think it’s pointless.

    • Vitica7


  • Word for word never seems to work…tried DRAGON APP and it never picked up the words correctly even in perfect speech pattern! Simple words may work the best!

  • Michael

    i think voice recognition is great, but real world scenario don’t work, noise around the devices is always an issue and even then it is very innacurate.

  • mikelite

    I’m pretty anti-voice recognition too, but Apple doesn’t do anything unless it can be done reliably over and over again. I’m betting they’ve ironed out the kinks and will have a solid offering for us.

    • Thatoneguy


  • shameer

    i only use voice control with my earphones never works by just talking need that mic

  • Rod

    Novelty item never gonna work good enough to be ususble fulltime! #Useless

  • I have to say that I’ve used the speech-to-text feature on Android’s OS extensively, and it’s way more than a “novelty item.” It’s actually quite accurate — even with ambient noise.

    Voice recognition has come a long way from the days of the Motorola Razor, when you would say “Call home” and it would say “Calling Tom’s office.”

    Besides that, this is Apple we are talking about. The company hasn’t brought a feature to iOS yet that wasn’t perfect and ready. Just look at copy/paste and multitasking.

    If nothing else, you’d think the function would at least be on par with Android’s offering. And to be honest, I’d be ok with that.

  • sofakingstoked

    This was the best and coolest part of owning an Android phone, but it was an Android phone, so it had to go back. If Apple brings this to iPhone, OMG it will make it even more perfect!

  • Shaz

    what the hell is this +1 everyone is doing. njosdifoidsfnofd!

    • STK10


      • ic0edx


    • Selcuk

      +1 = ‘like’

  • I’ve used Dragon on my iPhone and yes at first it doesn’t understand you as well. However it learns as long as you are the only one using it. It learns your speech patterns and inflections. As I’ve used it more, it’s gotten way more accurate. I would say at first it got about 80% of my speech, now it’s around 95% and that is acceptable if I have a lot to say. Unless I have an external keyboard and I want to say something else, Dragon is far better than the soft keyboard for me.

  • James

    This is just for lazy fuckers who are too fat and bone idle to write a text message, if you were taking notes for a meeting or actually writing something lengthy the ye but seriously, a text message !!!

    • Josh lee

      Or maybe others might use it because they are driving and they need to send a text without getting in a wreck. Quit being so ignorant.

      • Actually James, for me personally it’s because I’m blind and so using dictation is far faster than the soft-keyboard if the text or the email is kind of lengthy. Yes, I agree if the text is short, such as less than 30 characters, then the keyboard is fine, but usually if I want to share a longer bit of wisdom, dictation is faster. The Dragon app currently has the sms and email buttons right there, so no copying and pasting is even necessary. The iOS 5 feature will be even better. If I don’t go with the dictation route, I use a Bluetooth keyboard for long stuff, but still, it’s nice to have options. And for those of you who don’t know, yes, bloind people can use the iPhone/iPod Touch, and iPad devices. The program is called Voice Over and it can be found in Settings > General > Accessibility > Voice Over.

    • ScottN

      Not everyone has the ability to input text on a smart phone, I have a coworker with poor motor skills due to some lack of motor skill control, so don’t take such small things for granted or think of poor answers why voice to text would be used.

  • not cool

    • Sheesh, you would think I can’t type even on a real physical keyboard. I meant blind, not bloind.

  • Jacob

    Apple doesn’t release things that don’t work well. If he doesn’t think it’s perfect, we won’t get it.

  • EricWalker

    how do you enable it?

  • Toshi

    I tried Google Translator for iPhone with speech to text recognition and it works amazingly perfect. If the new feature will be at least half as good then it will be a success.

  • rdqronos

    So now the question is, how can we (us people) enable this on our iOS 5 devices?

  • Ken

    I had to go to a Droid x years ago in order to actually make phone calls. The iPhone was then only available on AT&T, the single worst carrier known to mankind for the LA area. Anyway, I hated leaving because the iPhone is the most elegant device ever made. I just had to make phone calls that would last. Anyway, the feature I came to love the most on the Droid is voice to text. It is amazingly accurate, even in noisy situations if you can get close to the mic, or use a head set plug in. I speak texts, and emails with amazing accuracy. If the iPhone offers this advantage, now that they offer Verizon, I’ll be back to the iPhone. It’s just that important of a feature to me.

  • K0878

    For whatever reason the microphone icon never showed up on my keyboard when I upgraded to ios5

  • llewellynh

    According to FCC regulations they and all the others must provide this service – really for the deaf – by January 1, 2014.