Enabling dictation on the iPad means sending your voice and personal data to Apple
One of the feature on the new iPad is its dictation capabilities, a feature also available on the iPhone 4S (which also boasts Apple’s Siri virtual assistant feature). There are quite a few ways that high quality dictation and other speech to text capabilities could useful to professionals in many fields.
The problem is that in order to get that high quality dictation functionality, the new iPad and the iPhone 4S rely on Apple’s servers to do much of the work in turning your speech into text. More importantly, it isn’t just snippets of voice recordings that get sent to Apple. Personal data from your iPad or iPhone 4S gets uploaded as well and much of it remains associated with you and your device. That’s a general concern for most of us, but for professionals in regulated industries like healthcare or fields that require confidentiality like finance and legal professions, it becomes a critical privacy concern and may even break the law.
Today’s iOS 5.1 beta 3 makes some interesting references to Siri’s Dictation feature. On both the iPod touch and iPad, a new Dictation text file has appeared under the keyboard settings window. This new document is not present in the same place on the iPhone 4S, suggesting that this reference does indeed foreshadow what’s to come.
The text file outlines iOS Dictation’s privacy details. While Siri Dictation is currently an iPhone 4S-only feature, it’s plausible to assume that Apple is working to bring the feature to other iOS devices.
By now, every iPhone 4S user has to know about the raise to speak feature that activates Siri. You simply raise your iPhone 4S to your ear, wait for the two tones and start talking. Ask Siri a silly or serious question and it usually has an answer for you. Sometime it isn’t what you would expect.
Although it is fun to ask Siri questions, you can also use Siri for dictation purposes. You can activate dictation by pressing the microphone button on the iOS pop-up keyboard. But did you know there is another way to start dictation?