In case you didn’t know it, the iPad has a built in microphone. Yes, that’s right. It’s located at the top of the iPad. It’s the little pin sized hole next to the headphone jack. The reason I mention this is because not everyone is aware the iPad has a microphone. After all, the iPad isn’t designed to make phone calls like the iPhone so why does the iPad have a microphone?
One theory is that Apple designed the iPad with a microphone because they will later release the iPad with a camera and it makes sense to have a microphone for video chats. More likely, Apple put a microphone into the iPad to take advantage of voice recognition capabilities. As great as the multi-touch interface is on the iPad, there is nothing more natural than speaking with your voice.
There are two great free voice recognition apps for the iPad that have really impressed me. The first app I discovered that uses voice recognition technology is the Google mobile app.
Google’s mobile app allows you to search the Internet by using just your voice. It is amazingly accurate and fun to use. Google voice search is one of my iPad’s tricks that I always like to show off to people who’ve never seen the iPad. I feel like a magician when I ask people what they want to find, have them speak the words, and then have their search results magically appear on the iPad screen.
The second app I discovered that uses voice recognition is Dragon Dictation. Dragon Dictation is a wonderful free app from Nuance who is the industry leader in voice recognition technology. Dragon Dictation is a very simple app that allows you to speak words and have them instantly transferred into text. It works very well. In fact, it works so well that I wrote most of this article using the Dragon Dictation app.
I found that the Dragon Dictation app accurately translated my spoken words into text about 95% of the time. When I needed to make a correction, it was easy to do so using the pop-up keyboard at the bottom of the screen. The accuracy may improve if you plug in an external microphone (which Nuance recommends for best performance) but I’ve just been using the iPad’s built in microphone.
One of the great things about the Dragon Dictation app is that there is no learning curve necessary unlike some other voice recognition software. The Dragon app instantly recognizes your voice without any training and you can easily email the text from within the Dragon app or copy and paste the text you’ve created into other apps.
I can definitely speak a lot faster than I can type on the iPad so I plan on using the Dragon app quite frequently. My job requires me to be on email a lot and writing a long email is definitely easier with the Dragon app than pecking away at the iPad keyboard. I would easily pay at least $9.99 for the Dragon Dictation app but the good folks at Nuance are giving it away for free. I highly recommend that everyone who has an iPad downloads this app.
There are so many great uses for voice recognition technology on the iPad. Did you know the iPad had voice recognition capabilities? How else would you like to see this technology used?
Lorne Lakin is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and a Producer for HSN in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Lorne has worked in the TV / Electronics industry for the past 13 years.Prior to working for HSN, Lorne spent 5 years at ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut. When not talking obsessively about the iPad, Lorne enjoys spending time with his wife, son, and dog Cooper.