Using Dragon NaturallySpeaking on your iPad / iPhone

Nuance, the makers of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11, have a Dragon NaturallySpeaking app for the iPad/iPhone that you might consider checking out. (What is Dragon NaturallySpeaking? Check out this post to find out more information about speaking speech to your computer.)

Actually, they have four mobile apps:

  • Dragon Dictation is a free app that lets you speak into your iPad or iPhone and it will write down what you say.
  • Dragon Search and Dragon Go are free apps that lets you search for things just by speaking to your iPhone or iPad. It’s a little like the Google search app, except instead of just pulling out Google findings, you can look at Wikipedia results, CNN posts, the Twitter feed, etc. I imagine it’s similar to Siri on the iPhone 4S, but unfortunately we don’t have the latest iPhone to play with. (Yet.)
  • Finally, Dragon Remote Microphone  is a free app that lets you turn your iPad or your iPhone into a wireless microphone to use with Dragon NaturallySpeaking on your computer. (You need Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 for this app to work, but if you had version 11, it’s a free upgrade.

This post was written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 and the Dragon Remote Microphone app on the iPad 2. (Scroll below to see what kind of accuracy we got using our iPad as a wireless microphone. Normally, the posts written on this blog using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 have an accuracy of anywhere between 95% to 98% using the Bluetooth Calisto wireless headset.) So far, there doesn’t seem to be much difference in the accuracy between using the Bluetooth wireless headset and using this Dragon NaturallySpeaking app on the iPad to speak our thoughts.

Having said that, using an iPad as a wireless microphone to speak into your computer is a pretty cumbersome way to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking. (Mind you, it’s probably a lot easier if you’re holding a smaller iPhone.)

Dragon NaturallySpeaking app review (Dragon Remote Microphone on the iPad 2)

Dragon Remote Microphone – Nuance Communications
Dragon Remote Microphone - Nuance Communications

Benefits to using your Dragon NaturallySpeaking app to convert your iPhone/iPad into a wireless microphone for Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5

  • If you’re using the Dragon Remote Microphone iPhone app, then you finally are truly free from your computer and you can pace around anywhere in your house and still talk to your computer. This Dragon NaturallySpeaking app makes the text to speech software even better than a Bluetooth microphone headset. Here me out…Wireless is better.If you’re using a wired microphone and headset to speak into your computer, then you’re essentially chained to your laptop. Your iPhone app works by connecting wirelessly to your Wi-Fi network. As long as you’re iPhone is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your computer, then you should be able to walk around anywhere in your house without being stuck.For example, right now I’m walking up the stairs and trying to see whether I can still connect to my computer – – – trying to see whether it’s recording everything I say – – – this would be impossible with the Calisto Bluetooth wireless headset because the moment I’m out of the range of the Bluetooth receiver, it stops working. Let’s see what happens. If I return back downstairs, I see that Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 has picked up all of my beautiful words.Hands down, using the Dragon microphone iOS app gives you a lot more freedom to walk around the house than the Bluetooth wireless headset that comes with the premium package, or the wired headset, obviously. It would be cool to see what kind of results you could get with an iPhone and a Bluetooth headset paired with your iPhone.
  • This is a quick and easy way for you to dictate notes on your computer. You may not always have your Dragon NaturallySpeaking wireless headset or wired microphone, but, chances are, in this day and age, you always have your iPhone pretty handy. (Sometimes wearing those headsets can look pretty geeky… Speaking into your phone may not be as geeky… Speaking into the top of your iPad – definitely pretty geeky.)
  • If you already own an iPhone, then you can save yourself hundred bucks and still speak to your computer wirelessly. The Calisto wireless headset is around $100 if you buy bundled with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 wireless premium. (If you buy it separately, then it can cost around $150.)  (If you’re a student, then you can save the hundred bucks by buying the educational version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11, but you might want to read these 10 things first)
  • When you’re using the iPhone or iPad Dragon microphone app, you can always tell exactly how much battery life your iPhone or iPad has left.  When you use the Calisto Bluetooth wireless headset, it’s hard to know exactly how much battery life you have left on the device. It seems that Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 works better when the Bluetooth headset is fully charged. I would imagine that the “10 hours” of battery life that you get with an iPad 2 is longer than the battery charge on the Calisto Bluetooth headset.

Problems with using the Dragon NaturallySpeaking app (Dragon Remote Microphone app) on the iPad 2:

  • The app seems to be a little glitchy. Three times during the writing of this post, Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 simply stopped listening to the iPad. The microphone on off button still works, but anything that was said simply didn’t get recorded on the computer. Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 had to be shut down and restarted in order for the Dragon microphone app to work again. (Simply restarting the Dragon microphone app didn’t work because then an error would pop up: “cannot connect to computer. Another Dragon remote microphone is connected to your computer.” Unreliable technologies are always a little frustrating.
  • The Dragon Remote Microphone app doesn’t work in the background. iOS 5 allows you to use a hand swipe to switch between apps. If you do that while you’re using the Dragon microphone app,Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 on your computer still indicates that the microphone is on, even though it’s not really listening.Your iPad will show the little red bar at the top saying that the microphone is recording, but it’s not. When you switch back to the Dragon microphone app, however, it will resume recording your voice and transcribing it on your computer.It might’ve been nice to speak into your computer while playing angry birds, but we’re not there yet.
  • Speaking into a microphone headset always looks a little geeky. If you were speaking into the Dragon microphone app on your iPhone, then it would look just like you were talking into your phone. Speaking into the microphone at the top of an iPad 2 definitely looks pretty geeky.Of course it goes without saying that an iPad 2 is a lot clunkier and heavier than an iPhone or your wireless Bluetooth headset.After this post, I can’t really see myself using the Dragon microphone app on the iPad simply because I like to use a combination of voice and keyboard/mouse control when using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5. Sure, you can select words with one hand using the mouse, but sometimes, if you want to train Dragon NaturallySpeaking, you need to type in what you actually said, and that requires two hands at the keyboard.

All in all, the Dragon NaturallySpeaking app (Dragon Remote Microphone app) looks like it has a lot of potential… if you’re using an iPhone, and not an iPad.

This post was written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 Premium Wireless and the Dragon Remote Microphone App on the iPad 2. What is Dragon NaturallySpeaking? Find out more about this speech to text software. We are compensated for our reviews. Click here for details.

  • There were 1106 words in the draft of this post. Dragon made 22 word errors. So, we had an accuracy of 98.0% in this document.
  • If you include punctuation and capitalization errors, Dragon made an additional 13 punctuation and capitalization errors. So, we had an accuracy of 96.8% in this document.

2 thoughts on “Using Dragon NaturallySpeaking on your iPad / iPhone”

  1. I plan onuing Dragon with mt Ipad as microphone, but where and what softwhere installations must be made? I have to do government work sent to me as TIFF files on CDs and while reading them haveto make notationabout the files, and when these are finished wanr to print them. I also have a desktop PC and the laptop where I read the government files. I would appreciate your ccomments. Dr Wally

    1. Hi Dr Wally,

      If you’re dead set on using your iPad as a microphone with Dragon Naturally Speaking, you have a couple of options. There’s the free Dragon Dictation app on your iPad but it’s not as fast or accurate as Dragon Naturally Speaking on your computer and you won’t be able to record a lot of text. (You can see our review of that Dragon Naturally Speaking app here.) Here’s the link: Dragon Dictation – Nuance Communications

      I’ve used my iPad as a microphone using a differentDragon Naturally Speaking app (Dragon Remote Microphone) which basically converts your iPad into a wireless microphone to use with your PC and it’s not very comfortable holding the iPad microphone up all the time. (It’s probably a lot easier with an iPhone.) You need Dragon Naturally Speaking 11.5 for the Dragon Remote Microphone app to work and you have to be on the same wireless network. Here’s the link: Dragon Remote Microphone – Nuance Communications

      If you’re looking to use voice recognition software to dictate your comments while you look at the TIFF files, I’d probably install Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium Wireless on your desktop PC and view the images on your laptop (unless you have a second, extended monitor on your PC.) I personally use the wireless bundle which costs a little more (but it’s cheaper than buying the Calisto bluetooth headset separately.) You can dictate or translate directly into your computer with Dragon Naturally Speaking into Microsoft Word or Dragon Pad (the word processing software that comes with Dragon Naturally Speaking) and at the end, you can print your notes. I get around a 97% word recognition accuracy with Dragon, but I have to proofread my work to catch the text-to-speech errors. (If you look at the bottom of my more recent posts written with Dragon Naturally Speaking, I’ve included some examples of errors that Dragon Naturally Speaking made.)

      Good luck. Cheers, Kisu

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