Dictation is a Game Changer
I upgraded to the iPhone 5 in the fall of 2012, after having the iPhone 4 for two years. Along with the bigger screen, I got Siri and a better camera. But so far the most exciting thing for me about the iPhone 5 is the voice recognition software, and specifically using it for dictation.
People have been dreamed about voice dictation for a long time, but the iPhone’s technology represents a turning point. I normally speak in fits and starts but with just a little practice, I found myself quickly dictating entire paragraphs, punctuation included, into my iPhone.
How I Use Dictation
I use dictation a lot when responding to casual emails and text messages. It’s faster and less straining to knock out a bunch a dozen emails via dictation than with full on typing. I still type when I send more important messages because I usually rephrase and edit my writing a number of times before sending it out.
Dictation is also very useful for drafting out blog posts that have been poking around in my head. For instance, the post you’re currently reading was dictated on my iPhone 5, with just a bit of touching up afterward.
Having this technology available means I don’t have to wait to get back to my desk before writing something substantial. I’ve mashed out long pieces with my thumbs on my iPhone but it takes a lot of effort. Now I just turn on dictation and get a first pass (and often final product) no matter where I am.
Dictation makes me more productive. It allows me to convey information as fast as I can say it, which is almost as fast as I can think it. It’s kind of like how people use macros or text expansion tools to accelerate or multiply their efforts. But the difference is, dictation is for everyone, not just for geeks.
Dictation is Being Used by “Real People”
My mom was born in China and moved to the United States when she was nearly 30 – she is definitely on the lagging end of the technology spectrum. She can use Google, send emails, and book flights online but she usually struggles a lot with new tech. I remember having to teach her 4 or 5 separate times how to transfer photos from her camera to the computer.
I went home for the holidays and saw my mom with the iPhone 4S she got last Christmas. She uses dictation all the time.
I see her send out text messages and emails on her phone primarily through dictation. She often struggles with the spelling of certain words, and she has much better luck using dictation to get them right. I have since seen this same use case with other people like my old gymnastics coach (who was born in Armenia and calls English his 3rd language)
To me, the fact that these non tech-savvy people, relies on dictation as part of her daily life means that voice recognition software and dictation truly starting to change everything.
I expect savvy founders to see the groundswell happening and start companies that leverage voice recognition and dictation. It’s probably already happening.