July 13th in App Reviews, iPad News by

Voice Recognition Technology Shines on iPad

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?

The author of this post is

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.


  • joe

    can some one tell me if the I pad mini has voice recognition and can I use for email/chat

  • Marie

    Wow the google app is great … I can speak in my search but can’t get it to speak back (ipad2). Any suggestions?

  • Tony Scaringe

    Well I’m leaving this message using the speaker on the keypad.
    I have an idea for a app for the hearing impaired but I don’t know if it has been created yet.

  • http://twitter.com/iweeklydeal001 Melanie Anderson

    I was trying to search for a solution on how to fix my newly
    bought ipad when I saw your post. I’ve
    thoroughly read it since I became so curious about the matter. Great post and I
    really like it. I hope you’d keep on posting more related articles about this.

  • Marymoore001

    Hi – thank you for this information.  My father lost his hearing last year and my mum is unable to communicate with him, and with this app she could now ‘speak’ to him.  I will head out tomorrow and buy him an I Pad after reading this.  This app could change his life!

  • Ned

    Regards to Cooper from my four Georgia beast…   I am thinking about using the Ipad 2 for work using a semi narrative semi check list for for home inspections. I will have a category in which I may check something off in a check box but then want to write into a text field to give greater clarity. Will the Dragon dictate app give me the ability to click into a text field and dictate the comment and then click to another field etc etc.   it would revolutionize our life-  Thanks Ned in Macon, GA

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  • Space Kookie

    Well, there is the rumor going around, that the iPad has a camera. And when I checked my own iPad I really found a little spot on the opposite side of the home button. Its too big for the light sensor and just a little smaller then the iSight in my Mac Book Pro. I bet they're gonna active the camera with a firmware update later, like they activated the Bluetooth function on the new iPod Touch. When I bought it, the detail, that it had bluetooth was even listed on http://www.apple.com.
    I bet, its gonna be the same thing here. But thx for sharing those two apps!

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