Apple is testing a local, offline version of Dictation voice input for iOS devices, according to strings of code found inside of the iOS 7 beta. The code, which was discovered by Hamza Sood, is located inside of both iOS 7 betas, but it is not present in iOS 6. Currently, when an iOS user uses their voice to input text using Dictation, the iOS device will use software that uploads your speech to the cloud to be converted into text. Because this relies on an internet connection and a cloud backend, this could sometimes mean errors and long-loading times, as well as some unwanted data usage…
The iOS 5.1 beta 3 is apparently lacking new features or exciting hints at the future of iOS devices, but we have discovered something potentially major: Siri Dictation references. Our own tipster Sonny Dickson was looking through the iOS 5.1 beta 3 settings application on the iPad and discovered a new section in the keyboard menu called “About Privacy and Dictation.” When opened, as shown above, the iPad provides the user with the standard legal literature and feature information for Siri Dictation.
Dictation is not actually functional on the iPad 2 running iOS 5.1 beta 3, so perhaps this will be an iOS 5.1 launch feature for the iPad, or it may be an iPad 3-exclusive feature; a similar process to the iPhone 4S exclusively gaining Siri and Siri Dictation support in iOS 5.0. We’re also hearing this link/document is also appearing on retina iPod touches as well.
On the iPhone 4S, Apple does not have a specific menu related to “Dictation and Privacy” in the keyboard settings panel. That literature is reserved exclusively for the Siri preferences under general settings and covers both Dictation and Siri. This may weaken concerns that this new iPad Dictation menu is simply carried over code from the iPhone 4S. This also may mean that the iPad’s Siri support could be limited to Siri Dictation, but that is pure speculation. Separately, we heard months ago that Apple was internally prototyping a version of the full Siri experience for the iPad, but have not heard any new developments since.