7/20/09
11:27 am

MacMost Now 268: iPhone 3GS Voice Control

Take a close look at the new iPhone 3GS Voice Control feature. Learn what it can do and about its many shortcomings.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. For todayís episode letís take a closer look at voice control the iPhone 3GS. Ok so the iphone has a big new feature called voice control basically you can speak to your iphone and it will perform certain actions lets go and take a look at exactly what actions can be performed and how well it works. To use voice control simply press and hold the button for a few seconds and then speak the command.
play playlist new music
playing playlist new music
Now you can talk back to voice control you can say no, nope, cancel, things like that so if you do get a completely wrong response from it you can quickly cancel it. I also found that pressing the cancel button very quickly will cancel whatever it is youíre trying to do.
To call someone simply say call or dial and then speak their name.
Call Steve Jobs
Calling Steve Jobs, work
And when you speak a name that has multiple numbers in your address book itíll simply prompt you and ask you, home, work, mobile whatever numbers youíve got in there and then you speak the response like work and it will dial that number for you. You can also dial a number.
Call 303-555-1212
Calling 303-555-1212
For music you can just say play music and it will play a song from your collection. You can also say play album and an album name, play artist and an artist name or play playlist and a playlist name.
Once music has started you can reactivate voice control and you could say pause or pause music you can also say next song or you can say previous you can also say shuffle playlist or album that youíre listening to and you can also say genius to activate the genius feature and play a randomly created playlist of songs that are similar to what you are listening to right now.
Getting a complete list of what voice commands are accepted may be important as apple updates this feature to do that simply say help.
Help
Using iphone voice control you can tell iphone to call contacts, play albums or play playlists.
So big bug in voice control right now it seems to refuse to play a playlist with podcast in it or a podcast itself. So if you speak the name of a podcast it seems to acknowledge it and it doesnít play anything. You speak the name of a playlist with podcast in it and again it acknowledges it but it doesnít play anything. I hope that this is just a bug and that it will be fixed soon.
One neat thing you can do is you can say is whatís playing or what song is this and various other things, they all have the same result, theyíll speak back to you the name of the song and artist and album that is currently playing
The biggest problem with voice control is that it is very inaccurate I find that usually especially for music Iíve got to speak it four, five, six, seven times before I can finally get the right one. Some artists it seems to recognize right away presumably with easier names for it to understand, other artists and songs it just never seems to get.
I also hope that it adds more voice commands like itís frustrating not to be able to bring up your calendar for instance using voice commands or to bring up any other standard apps.
It would be also great if you could actually ask it what the weather is, things like that. So I think all the standard apps that come with the iphone should have some sort of voice control that, even if it is just to launch the app, but information like stocks and weather and stuff like that they should actually give you some feedback as well. Right now it seems voice control is only for playing music and making phone calls.
I find Iím really frustrated about the long delay it takes you have to press and hold down the button for, it seems like too long of a time, to activate voice control also it sometimes doesnít work for instance if your phones asleep or if the screen is locked and if youíre driving is a car and trying to use voice control, sometimes it can be frustrating to get it to just activate when you donít really know what it shows on your screen while youíre driving.
Thatís a closer look at voice control for the iphone 3GS.
Until next time this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.