“In Mountain Lion, Macs are getting system-wide speech recognition, the same ‘Dictation’ feature Apple gave the new iPad at the beginning of the year. While it works well, it does require a network connection,” Daniel Eran Dilger reports for AppleInsider.
“Apple’s cloud-based Dictation feature, currently supported on the new iPad and as part of the broader Siri voice assistant feature of iPhone 4S, converts speech to text virtually anywhere,” Dilger reports. “It works by sending audio recordings of captured speech to Apple’s servers, which respond with plain text. While it doesn’t go as far as the more intelligent Siri, Dictation does intelligently cross reference the names and assigned nicknames of your contacts in order to better understand what you are saying.”
Dilger reports, “Similar to Siri or Dictation on the new iPad, Dictation on Macs running OS X Mountain Lion pops up a simple mic icon when activated, which listens until you click or type the key to finish. Just as with Siri or dictation on the new iPad, Dictation under Mountain Lion is quite fast and highly accurate, but does require a network connection to function. If you don’t have a network connection, the Dictation input icon will simply shake, indicating that it is not available.”
Much more, including screenshots, in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: We’ve dictated commands to our Macs since the early 1990s (PlainTalk, Speakable Items). We didn’t need a network connection then. Why do we need it in 2012? Dragon Dictate for Mac and MacSpeech Scribe don’t require network connections, either – and they work wonderfully! We understand how Siri works, but mere dictation isn’t Siri. Why can’t Mountain Lion’s dictation feature work locally and free users from network dependency?
The network requirement seems to be an artificial limitation, part of the deal between Apple and Nuance, that’s meant to preserve Nuance’s revenue stream for standalone dictation software rather than for any actual technical reason. If so, bad form, Apple!