I have been an object of ridicule for a long time, because the Master of All Macintoshes only types with two fingers. Thanks to Apple’s newest operating system, I now have the ability to create this entire article on my Mac, using only my voice to dictate. I could have done it just as easily on my iPhone or iPad 3.
Thanks to my new iPhone 5, I have the ability to spend the entire day without typing at all. I will be driving along on the freeway, wearing my white Apple headset. Once in a while, I will reach out and briefly squeeze the center switch on the cable of my headphones.
Siri (the voice that talks to me from my iPhone) will ask me what I want, and then will do it.
When the iPhone beeps at me, I will say “Send a message to James Riordan”, or “How do I get to Julia Bannon’s home?”. Being easily-lost in the far reaches of San Diego County and its canyons, one of my favorite commands is “Tell me how to get home”.
When I am NOT driving, my favorite command is “Wake me up in 45 minutes”. I do treasure my old-man naps every day!
I spent the entire day yesterday without touching any keyboard at all. I just issued commands, and sent detailed emails and text-messages, using my voice. There is a young man in Afghanistan who I correspond with every day, and I was able to spend the entire 45-minute drive to a client’s house in a long and involved text-message discussion with him, using only the “pinch the switch” motion to briefly remove my hand from the wheel. My eyes never left the road.
I’m getting better at it because it’s important that I master it, so that I can demonstrate it to my clients. This is the future of all forms of computing devices. I really like being able to learn this new “operating system within the operating system” according to Apple.
I’m practicing every day, and I’m becoming much, much better at enunciating, but I still forget to include punctuation in the midst of my “writing”. I’m having to learn new habits.
The only drawback to this wonderful new technology is that it is very, very stressful for our eleven-year-old dog Reggie. When I am issuing commands to Siri, I can hear him slide off the couch, run to the doggie door, and escape from the Mean Old Daddy who is yelling at him. I have tried changing my voice to the sweetest-possible timbre, but it makes no difference. He is so sensitive!
Note: I had to correct this article a bit before sending it out, but only a little bit. Enunciation really does matter. As Apple notes in the article below, the more that you use it, the better it gets at recognizing your intentions. I also added links. No way to do that using your voice.
Here is an article about using dictation effectively on Apple devices, including Macs that can run Mountain Lion.