Such FAIL that its almost epic.  I have only recently started to play with iphone voice control after a VERY pleasant experience with Google Androids voice control, which work very well.  With my Droid I could get directions, play music and even call people.  And although calling people was not 100%, it was pretty good. When I switched back to iPhone, I figured I would have the same experience.  Not even CLOSE!

{Update} iPhone 4s was released with Siri voice control.  This is a whole new game. However, as best I can tell, I still cannot launch apps from Siri. Still, there are some funny Siri replies.

Only ONCE was I able to get an album to play.  For example, I would say  ‘ play the smiths’.  Not that hard right?  Yet to tried to call someone … twice!  How can you not know the difference between play and call?   “Play Alphaville” never worked, and the four times I tried to call someone, again, it would fail.  I just dont get it.  I do not have an accent, spoke clearly and this thing was worthless… And its not me because I was doing the exact same thing on my Droid and it was getting near 90%.  I ended up using Bing for voice directed map search.  Bing worked just as well as Google Android does.

All I can guess is that since both Bing and Android send wave files back to a server; that is why it works better.  You could argue, well then you do not have voice control access if you do not have network access.  Sure, but at least I’m not randomly dialing people when I try to play music or get a website.

If anyone out there has had better experience then I have please let me know.

Now, Apples does have some tips to make it better, all of these I already know..

Using the microphone

  • Use the microphone on your headset. With iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPod touch (4th generation), you can also use the built-in microphone. You can also use a Bluetooth headset, or a compatible Bluetooth car-kit.
  • For best results when you’re using headphones with a built-in microphone, let the cord with the built-in microphone hang freely. Avoid holding the cord with the microphone or bringing it closer to your mouth. When the headphones are in your ear and the cord dangles freely, the microphone is in the optimum position.
  • For best results when you’re using the built-in microphone on iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, hold the device as if you were on a telephone call. If holding the device in front of yourself, you can hold it up to 12 inches away with the built-in microphone facing you.
  • You can use the built-in microphone on iPod touch (4th generation) by holding the device in front of you, as if making a FaceTime call.
  • If you are using a carrying case and experiencing some issues with Voice Control, the microphone may be blocked. Try removing the carrying case.

When to speak

  • After you press and hold the Home button, you will be prompted by an audible tone to speak a command.
  • When using a Bluetooth headset, press and hold the “call” button until the Voice Control screen appears.
  • Always wait until the prompt is complete before you start speaking. Any words you speak while the device is giving the prompt will be ignored.
  • Be ready to speak when the beep has completed. Long pauses may cause unexpected results.

For voice dialing (iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS only)

  • Some short names may be too similar and may be hard to distinguish by themselves. For best results with these kinds of names, try saying both the first and last name.
  • If you’re having difficulties getting the device to recognize a particular name, try editing the contact, tap Add Field, and add a unique nick name.
  • Avoid possessive names. Instead of saying “call Frank’s mobile” try “call Frank on his mobile.”

For FaceTime

  • Some short names may sound too similar to each other, making them hard to distinguish by themselves. For best results with these names, try saying both the first and last name.
  • If you’re having difficulty getting the device to recognize a particular name, try editing the contact: Tap Add Field and add a unique nickname.
  • Avoid possessive names. Instead of saying “FaceTime Frank’s mobile,” try “FaceTime Frank on his mobile.”

For music playback

  • You can play all songs in an album, playlist, or by an artist. The device will not recognize commands to play a particular song.
  • If you can’t get the device to recognize the album or artist name, try telling it to play a particular playlist.
  • If an artist has “The” in the name, make sure you say it.

2 comments on “iPhone 4 voice control sucks! #FAIL But here are some tips anyway

  • Perhaps you should better learn how to use the iphones voice control commands. You can't just say "Play Alphaville." The command would be "Play songs by Alphaville." The iphones voice control does leave alot to be desired, however, ive found that the feature tends to be pretty accurate when used properly. The only real disadvantage is the limited number of aspects on your phone that can be controled by voice command.

    • Hmm your right. I have been using the voice on android and have been in the habit of doing it that way. On the second try it got it right and played Alphaville. However, that is just one use case. I found it was hit and miss calling people as well. Given how well the Android voice control worked, I just cannot call this useful. It has to have at least a 85% or better hit rate, else whats the point? I think if they put a little more work into this, I can see making it part of my phone use habit, but for now, its a dead feature to me. Although I've heard of a jailbreak app that allows more commands. I'm going to give that a try at some point.—

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