The State of Dictation on the Mac and iOS

As we are moving toward the release of iOS 9, OS X 10.11, and Dragon Dictate is about to get an upgrade, I’ve been looking lately a lot at how far along we’ve come with the ability to dictate to our devices.

I’ve long been a fan of dictation but also long felt an outsider in this regard. That isn’t so true anymore. This morning I was sitting in a coffee shop and saw a few people dictating into their phones. I think it was the addition of dictation anywhere on our phones that has brought a lot of people in. This afternoon I made an informal poll of other geek friends, I’m hearing that many are using the built-in iOS dictation on at least a semi-regular basis. You should. It’s faster and easier than typing.

That same informal poll, however, discloses that almost nobody dictates to their Macs. While Dragon Dictate remains in the lead over the built-in Mac OS dictation, I can report that the built-in Mac dictation continues to improve. It still exhibits strange behaviors on occasion but, If nothing else, it’s a free way to find out if you want to dictate more and invest in Dragon Dictate.

While we are in much better shape than a few years ago, I still don’t think dictation is for everyone. We haven’t got to the point where you can just speak and have full confidence your words are being properly transcribed. On iOS, you still need an Internet connection for it to work. (Wouldn’t it be nice if the next iPhone put dictation on the chip so you could dictate without an Internet connection?) Correcting blundered dictation is also still more difficult than it should be.

However, if you are the type that once in awhile just needs to get that first draft of something into your computer, dictation is now definitely up to the task.