Dictation is a new feature on Mac OS X Mountain Lion. It’s supposed to be one of those features that I would love to use since I write a lot. Unfortunately, I can barely use Dictation on Mac OS X Mountain Lion on my MacBook Pro. How come? Well, let say it’s not yet up to my expectation. In fact, it is far from pleasing me.
I don’t think I speak that badly in English, because my English accent isn’t bad at all. Nonetheless, Dictation has constantly failed to dictate what I’m trying to say. For an example, when I say feature it types out future. When I say comma to tell it to write a punctuation mark comma into a sentence, it might type out a word of entirely different beast altogether. Nonetheless, Dictation does work out alright sometimes. I notice when you want a punctuation mark in a sentence, you’ve to pronounce the punctuation mark out entirely for Dictation to type out a punctuation mark. It does make sense until I guess you really want a word comma in place of the punctuation mark comma, because Dictation may just as well type out a punctuation mark comma since it dictates that whenever you pronounce a punctuation mark in its entirety — it means you want a punctuation mark and not a word that spells out the punctuation mark.
I kind of feel there is something lacking about having to use shortcut key [fn] to tell Dictation that I’m done writing and wanting to take a break from Dictation. I guess it’s the same problem as what I had mentioned previously. Dictation might not be able to discern between a key command and its dictation function. Perhaps, when you say I’m done talking to you Dictation, Dictation may as well dictate and type out what you have said — but not to actually understand that what you have said is a command to tell Dictation to turn off itself. To enhance user experience, I guess Apple might have to enhance Dictation in a way that the users don’t really have to tell Dictation that they’re done using Dictation for the time being by clicking on [I'm Done] call out button or using the shortcut key [fn].
Using Dictation with a headphone which has a microphone might be better than otherwise. I noticed that when I used Dictation with the MacBook Pro’s internal microphone, Dictation did poorly. Perhaps, Dictation requires the users to speak really clear, and the internal microphone from any Mac might not be able to pickup a user’s voice as well as the headphone’s microphone.
According to MacLife’s “How to Use Dictation in Mountain Lion” article, Dictation does have more than few dictation commands that you can speak to actually tell Dictation to dictate such commands in a document. One example would be “all caps” — when using this command, Dictation will turn whatever you speak into an all capitalized written text. This is a great strength of Dictation, but this also reveals Dictation as a crude prototype. Perhaps, I’m too critical of Dictation since Siri is around? After all, Dictation isn’t that different from Siri in the perspective that it does have the need to phone home (i.e., upload what the users say to Apple’s servers before Dictation can write out what the users have said onto a document).
Anyhow, in conclusion I think Dictation can be improved further. Nonetheless, Dictation does provide an alternative way for writing a document. People like me though may not yet fully embrace Dictation for the reasons I pointed out previously. Plus, people like me may write better when we type, because when speaking to Dictation it does feel like we talk more than write. With this I meant, some of us might be able to form better sentences for a document when we type and not otherwise. In the end, I still think that it’s rather strange for Apple to create Dictation as entirely a different feature when Siri is around. After all, Dictation isn’t exactly 99.99% accurate in dictation. In a way, I think Apple might as well combine Dictation and Siri into one for Mac OS X Mountain Lion, because Siri can bring Siri’s own useful features plus Dictation feature to Mac users. Furthermore, I think with Siri as Dictation and more — the developers don’t really have to worry about two different things altogether (i.e., Dictation and Siri) when they create apps for Mac ecosystem.
- Mountain Lion is Really Popular (imackheads.wordpress.com)
- Up close with Mountain Lion: Dictation (macworld.com)
- 5 Things To Do Once You Have Installed Mountain Lion (makeuseof.com)
- OS X Mountain Lion Dictation Review: It’s Time to Talk to your Mac (gottabemobile.com)
- Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion racks up over 2 million downloads in 48 hours (slashgear.com)
- 5 Highly Useful Productivity Apps And Features In The New Mountain Lion (makeuseof.com)
- 20 Reasons OS X Mountain Lion Is Worth $20 (gottabemobile.com)
- X11 and the disturbing trend of Apple removing functionality from OS X (imore.com)
- Mountain Lion Is Available Today: Here’s What To Expect (webpronews.com)
- OS X Mountain Lion On Sale Now In the Mac App Store [Updates] (makeuseof.com)