Voice activation on most things digital sucks. It takes months to train it to your voice, it’s not fast enough to keep up with anything but clear, measured speech and is useless if the user has to touch or press a button to activate it. We’d all like our phones to recognize our natural speech and act as a rudimentary form of telekinesis, but technology is nowhere near that.
That is why the touted voice-activated feature(s) on the rumored small iPhone is a complete waste of time for everyone involved. Apple may as well offer a fold-out hatchet for as much as it will add to the usefulness of the device.
1. Voice activation does me no good if it can’t be activated solely by voice
Right now, I can command my iPhone to do stuff by holding down the home button and then speaking after the tone. WTF is that? If I have touch access to the phone, why do I need to use my voice? It’s not hands free in the slightest and it’s not like you’re ever going to call someone not in your address book, so being able to keep your attention on whatever you’re doing to call out a number is pointless.
2. The only time I’d need voice activation is if I couldn’t reach the phone
If I couldn’t touch the phone, how would I turn it on? Would there be a special code? Would it be matched to my voice only? What if I was in a car wreck and my voice was raspy, would it recognize me then? I’m lucky to get Dragon Dictation to recognize a short sentence and whatever Apple has going can’t be that much better than it is. So no thanks.
3. Unless I also have wireless headphones, I may as well have the phone in my hands
The only current way to listen to music AND talk on the iPhone is to either hold the phone up to my ear or use headphones. Any Bluetooth wireless headset works either for music or for talking, but battery limitations usually prevents both. This means the iPhone will always need to be about 18 inches away, so I may as well use my fingers.
4. Keeping your iPhone in the open in order to use voice activation will prompt more theft and loss
Let’s say in some perfect universe that the voice activation worked. But how would iPhone hear anyone when stashed in a purse or stuffed in a pocket? Unless you also had a voice-activated Bluetooth device with better battery life than everything on the market combined, iPhone couldn’t hear you. And no one wants to walk around with a Bluetooth device in their ear, do they?
5. Security becomes an issue immediately
Unless iPhone is somehow programmed to recognize your voice only, anyone within earshot of you would hear whatever commands you might send and could easily repeat them. Unless iPhone owners decide to never use voice activated features (seriously…I wouldn’t be able to help myself), we’re going to have a lot of iPhones screwed with by anyone who knows you.
Also, smaller is too small. Too small sucks.