There is an application that I have been using on my iPhone for the past five or six weeks that has transformed the way I use the device. It has already become one of my “must have, can’t live without” applications. The thing is, it was a “must-have, can’t live without” application within about a day of my starting to use it. And it’s only becoming increasingly important to my use of the iPhone as the weeks have gone on.
When I first started using the application the company that provided the beta version asked that I not speak about it until they were ready to roll it out. Earlier today, however, I received a letter from them thanking me for my participation. It ended with the words “If you have friends who you think would be interested in [the application] please spread the word.”
Well, as we head into Thanksgiving that is just what we are going to do.
All I can say is, “It’s about time!” I’ve been waiting to talk about this particular application for a while. A video demo of the app follows…
The application is the iPhone version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Dragon for iPhone is an application that is remarkable in its ability to do voice to text transcription. Unlike other applications which let you record your voice and ultimately deliver a transcription at a later time (from a few to many minutes), Dragon doesn’t make you wait. No, the transcription process takes mere seconds to be completed. In addition, the accuracy of the transcription is nothing short of remarkable. Seriously. It is almost like the application is performing a magic trick– the transcription is that accurate. (In fact, I’m recording this entire post using the application on my iPhone while I’m out and about today.)
This is the transcription from the video- it is untouched-
This is Dragon for the iPhone. Yes, you have to speak clearly when trying to speak to the application if you want good accuracy but it
really does record your voice and transcribe it to text with almost perfect accuracy. And it’s fast. I have been beta testing this
application for five or six weeks. Within a day of beginning to use it if had transformed the way I use my iPhone. I really type on my iPhone any longer. Instead, I simply speak to my iPhone and it records. I’m excited to see the application come out. My hope is that Nuance, the company that develops these products and markets them, doesn’t price is so high that it’s out of reach. It really has the potential to transform the way many people use the iPhone’s. Who needs a keyboard when you can do this. one thing that is a bit problematic but it’s not the companies fault. You need to dictate right in the application not in the e-mail application because of limitations that Apple has imposed. But they found a decent way to get around it. Let me show you.
Another thing about the application that is quite nice is that it is simple to use. It actually has one of the most basic interfaces I have seen and in this case that’s a good thing. Yes, there are limitations to what you can do with it — but that’s largely because of the limitations that Apple has placed upon access to core services on the device.
The result of the “Apple limitations” is that you need to record your text using the application separate and apart from anything else that you might want to do with it. When you completed the recording you then can send it where you wanted to go. For example, I can record the text that I want and then I can send it to start a new e-mail. Or I can send text to a new text message. Or, and this is usually the best way to use it, I can send the text that I recorded to the clipboard of the iPhone. From there I can put it into any sort of document I might be writing or any e-mail that I might be looking to respond to. Sure, it would be nicer if I could use the application to directly respond to e-mails but Apple doesn’t let that happen. I understand that this might sound a bit awkward but, trust me, within a few days of using the application. It becomes second nature.
And did I happen to mention the accuracy of the transcription? I’m telling you I cannot believe how accurate this is. The transcription usually requires very little, if any editing, at all before I am able to send it. It continually blows my mind.
There is one downside to the product that I wish would change. The recordings need to be done in 20 to 30 second snippets. I suspect that the time limitation allows the transcription process to move as quickly as it does. More data would equal a longer period of time required. What I can tell you, however, is that after a few days of using the application being able to record in 30 second snippets and then add the next piece of text and the next piece of text has become more than natural to me. Awkward, yes but not so difficult or awkward that it doesn’t make the application usable. It simply requires a different mindset.
As I said, this application has become a must-have application for me. The truth is I very rarely type on the iPhone any longer. Thanks to Dragon on the iPhone. The big question that remains for me — how much is it going to cost what it ultimately rolls out into the app store? I hope it’s not too much but regardless of the cost, I suspect I’ll still be using the application as I move forward.