Voice Control: Will it ever work?

I’m sure I’m not the only person around who struggles getting my iPhone to understand my commands. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s trying to call someone or play something on the iPod, unless I speak like a Wall-E and only want really simple things it doesn’t play ball.
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The first speech recogniser was developed in the early 1950s, which begs the question: If it’s been around for almost 60 years, why isn’t there a better one on my iPhone? When the 3GS was announced last summer they made a big deal of the new features, which were Video, Voice Control and the Compass. Out of the three I’d say only the video capture is of a decent quality. The compass is about as accurate as a drunken man playing ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’ and the Voice control misunderstands more than I would with my head under water. It’s not a feature I use incredibly often, but when I’m walking home in the cold, and I want to quickly call my wife, I’d like to do it without having to remove my phone from my pocket, and out of it’s sleeve before making a call.
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So what is the big problem? I’d love to know why they can’t get it right. The person I most like to call, or most often call, is my wife, who’s name is Elouise. Now, I’m going to play a little experiment and call her using Voice Control, pronouncing her name in as many conceivable ways as possible. Here’s the list of responses to “Call Elouise” :
“Calling Lois Fallon”
“No match found”
“Calling Sarah Louise”
“Calling Lewis Powell”
This is possibly the most infuriating situation that can occur with an iPhone, well, for me anyhow. So what’s the solution? I’ve had to create a new contact named ‘My Wife,’ which thankfully, the iPhone understands.
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Apple, it’s not much like you to add a feature on to a device merely as a gimmick. Please fix it!
I’d actually be interested to see how many of our readers feel the same way, and if so, what are the most unusual responses you’ve had from iPhone.

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  • Jimmy

    My iphone understands me fine. maybe you have a broken microphone or something.

  • tom parker

    My Iphone voice command also works fine. Before you write an article, don’t you think it might just be the way you speak and there is nothing wrong with the phone?

  • Cam Bunton

    Hey Guys,

    Thanks for the hints/comments, much appreciated.

    Jimmy, I wish it was a broken microphone but it isn’t, it doesn’t matter whether or not I use the inline mic on my headset or the one on my phone.

    Let’s not forget that I haven’t said it doesn’t work at all, it’s just not 100%. I’ve tried pronouncing my wife’s name in as many ways as realistically conceivable, but it never ever gets it right. Whereas with more popular names it works fine.

    On the other hand when I try exactly the same commands in to the voice search on the Google App and it recognizes it every single time. So what I’m saying is they need to work on the quality and reliability of their Voice Control, it’s not up to the high standard we expect from Apple.

  • Dan Murray

    Voice recognition is still unpredictable because of the huge variation in human speech delivery. When a phonetic pattern is unique enough, the device will get it right every time. I couldn’t get “Annie” right, so I changed it to “George Washington.” It’s right, now, every time. I just want it to dial the right number. I don’t care what I have to call it. There are no rules against being creative. We all have to give voice recognition something it can recognize.

  • http://Website(optional) JamesDX

    Maybe this is me talking nonsense, but it seems like Google isn’t a company run strictly by the top and they seem to be doing quite well.

  • Jay

    I will add a small note to my story, if it makes it a better shot, and makes my story more exciting, I was probley thinking about sex at some time that my story took place!, LOL. Thanks! Really want that prize for my mama!!!!!