We are the generation who has been lucky enough to see science fiction turn into reality. Touchscreens, smartphones, carrying the world in your pocket, everything is working towards complete automation. But still it will be a folly to assume that we have reached the pinnacle of technological evolution. There is always room for improvement. iPhone has often been the trend-setter in many areas regarding smartphones, and a lot of that innovation is expected to find its way in the upcoming iPhone 5. One such expected feature is speech-to-text conversion. But until iPhone’s latest model becomes available, jailbroken users can enjoy this awesome feature using VoiceKeys.
VoiceKeys is a free tweak available in the Cydia store over at the Big Boss repo. The app, once installed, becomes visible in your device’s Settings menu. But before we get into that , let’s see how VoiceKeys actually works. Whenever you’re using the keyboard on your iPhone or iPad, say in the Notes app or while texting, you can activate VoiceKeys. There are two ways to do that.
One, you can bring the phone close to your ears and let the proximity sensors kick in. Do this after the keyboard has stared to show. As soon as the screen goes dark, VoiceKeys will start listening for your dictation. The second method is to long press in the empty text area (like you do for copying/ pasting text). You will notice that a button marked VoiceKeys has been added to that menu. Press it and speech recording will start.
The tweak’s Settings menu lets you choose how your text will appear in your notes by customizing input options. These options aren’t too different from the standard keyboard input options and include the choice to capitalize the first word of each sentence, ending sentences with a period and so on.
There are a few drawbacks though. For one thing, the tweak isn’t very accurate. It uses the best available technology (Google’s speech-to-text service) but even that doesn’t seem to cut it at times. All you can do to rectify this issue is to speak very slowly and clearly so that there is a greater probability of the app accurately catching what you said. Another problem is that VoiceKeys doesn’t provide you with 100% automation. Unlike the built-in speech-to-text functionality in Android, you still have to hit the Recognize button at the end of your dictation and the start-up requires some touches too. But hey, it’s still faster than typing out the whole note with the keyboard (for most users, that is). And the tweak is free anyway, so it couldn’t hurt to give it a try.