Apple Adds Internet-Free Dictation Feature to Mavericks
Although it isn’t talked about much, Apple’s universal dictation feature found in Mavericks has been updated so it doesn’t require an internet connection. Dictation mode which made its debut in Mountain Lion previously required an internet connection so that speech could be processed on an Apple server and sent back to you as text. There were several limits and you had to pause to let your data get to Apple and back again. All in all, it worked but it wasn’t very effective. Mavericks’ users are now given the option of “enhanced dictation” and when turned on, you’ll need to download a file that makes your speech recognition a local process rather than server based.
There appears to be no training needed and once you have the new files, everything seems to work right away. It is seemingly quick and accurate as well. As you talk, the words will appear on the screen in near real time, something which wasn’t possible with the internet-based method. For those of you who still preferred the way the old feature worked, you are given the option to keep it that way by choosing to not use “enhanced dictation.”
By default, you start dictation by hitting the Fn key twice but you can choose your own keys if you don’t like that choice. You won’t have all the fancy commands and capabilities that one would find in one of the Dragon products but for a quick email or word processing, the feature seems to work just fine. You can edit your text normally with your mouse or trackpad afterwards.
Have any of you tried the feature? If so, what was your experience like?