Now days, with laws in place in many states saying that you can’t use your cell phone while driving, you need to start to be proactive about using your iPhone while driving. Now, don’t get me wrong here. I fully support not being preoccupied with your iPhone while driving, but I do support using hands free technology while driving. One of the features that is built into the iPhone is Voice Control. Voice Control, unfortunately is not a feature that is talked about much and I really don’t think Apple has put a ton effort into it. All that to say, I think it is a nice feature to have. This post I will show you the feature more and what I think it can do to get even better.
If you notice on your iPhone, the Voice Control feature isn’t an app. That is why if you try to search for it as an app, you won’t find it on your iPhone or in the App Store. In order to access Voice Control you have to hold down the Home button. There are two main features of the Voice Control feature. The first feature deals with phone dialing and the second feature deals with the music on your iPod.
First, the phone dialing feature. When you acces the Voice Control feature, you will hear a beep and the iPhone will vibrate. At this point you can speak your command. If you want to call someone, you will say “Call ________________” . If the person you are trying to call has more than one number, Voice Control will ask you which number do you want to call. The other part to this feature is that you can also say “Call 451-6582″ and your iPhone will then dial that number for you.
The other nice feature that I learned while testing out Voice Control is that say you want to call someone that has a hard pronunciation or spelling of their name. For example, my last name always gets butchered. It is Takenouchi. I will give you a dollar if you can actually say it correctly. Well, if you don’t want to keep repeating the name in Voice Control, hoping they get it right, you can make this process a lot easier. Here is what you do. First, you want to go into your Contacts and then select the contact that has a hard time being picked up by Voice Control. Then you are going to want to hit the “Edit” button in the top right hand corner of your iPhone. Then scroll down until you see the “Add Field” tab and click on it.
You will now be presented with some options. Here you can do a couple of things to help Voice Control get the name right next time you try. If you scroll down to “Nickname”, you can fill out a nickname for that person that is shorter and easier for Voice Control to pick up. For example, for my name, instead of trying to say Shaun Takenouchi, I can just enter in Shaun in the Nickname field. Then the next time I go into Voice Control, I can just say Shaun and Voice Control will know that I want to call Shaun Takenouchi. Your other option would be to try and input the “Phonetic First Name” and/or the “Phonetic Last Name” to help Voice Recognition recognize who you are trying to call.
Now, lets move on to the second aspect of Voice Control and that is the iPod features. There are a lot of voice features when it comes to playing music that is on your iPod. Here are the different iPhone voice commands.
“Play Music”: will play your music
“Play playlist ____”: will play that playlist that you mention
“Play album”: will play the album that you name
“Play artist”: will play the artist that you name
“Pause”: pause music
“Play more songs like this”: will play songs that are more like the one that you are currently listening to
“What song is this”
“Who sings this song”
Also, with the new version of the iOS, you can also say “No” or “Not that one”, to cancel the operation that you are asking Voice Control to do. You can also say “Cancel” or “Stop” to exit Voice Control. These are all great features to have in a voice app. But I really think, if Apple wanted to, they could make this feature so much better and really dominate voice-text. Personally, I think they should make it an app and be able to integrate it with other apps. For example, integrate it with maps where you can speak an address or a place nearby and then the map app will open up and give you directions to the place you are going to based off of your current location. Apple could also integrate Voice Control with the texting app, where you can voice your text and then send it to someone. Same concept can be applied to the email app as well. The possibilities are endless here. I would love to see Apple make Voice Control better in the next big version of iOS. But unfortunately, I don’t think they will as they really haven’t promoted any part of Voice Control as much as they do the other features of the iPhone.
What do you guys think? Do you use Voice Control? Could it be better or is it a useless feature that we don’t need?