Apple iOS 5 Beta Hints At Voice Commands

Comment by jasonscott Aug 9, 2011, 05:55 AM EDT

… the same sort of comment. iOS 4 has some limited Voice Control features built in. Granted, they’re kinda sketchy and don’t always produce the desired results … but it’s a start.

Eric: for you benefit, from anywhere within iOS 4, press and hold the home button a few seconds and you should be presented with the Voice Control screen. (Again … not an ideal implementation.) Then just speak a command like “Play artist Phil Collins” or “What time is it?” or “Call Rachel”.

For me, voice control has to be much more extensive (and reliable) to be worthwhile. I like how Apple implemented it on OSX — as a System Preference that can be activated or deactivated, so that the computer doesn’t bother to listen for commands.

In terms of my iPhone, I want to be able to trigger actions (“Call Rachel”) but more importantly, I want to be able to dictate emails and texts, initiate web or map searches, and I want it to read my text messages or email to me (then allow me to respond by voice) … turning typing-centric apps into voice-centric ones. think of the implications for folks who are disabled. think of the convenience in the car (not that you should be distracted while driving, but this should certainly minimize that, if done well). think of the fun you can have at parties or social gatherings.

I don’t think we’re that far off from Star Trek TNG stuff here. once upon a time, we didn’t have their communicators. Now we have cell phones. Then they got nifty little touch tablets to carry around. Check. Now, we just need our computers to take voice commands: “Computer, plot a course to the nearest star fleet base and engage … warp one.” oh … and the warp drive … that’d be cool. Maybe Apple can work on that for the next WWDC.

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