iPhone Development Voice Dialing

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by GotMac?, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. GotMac? macrumors member

    GotMac?

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #1
    Question, if someone understands development and downloads the SDK, is it even possible to develop a voice dialing app? Does the SDK only allow you to develop add on applications, or does it let you connect into existing applications? Such as if you were able to get a voice recognition API and tie it into a created application you developed, with the current SDK would you be able to access the address book? Reason I am asking and if I am in the wrong forum let me know, is that I want to investigate if this is possible before I or a friend of mine starts development on this idea.
     
  2. robhedin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2006
    #2
    An application developed with the SDK can access the address book (and does have access to the various fields stored therein such as first name, last name, home phone, etc.) And such an application can cause the phone to dial a telephone number. Additionally, you can access the on-board microphone.

    However...

    There are significant limitations-
    1. The user must explicitly launch your application. This means that you cannot trigger based on the user "clicking" the button on a hands-free set or the iPhone ear buds. This limitation basically forces the user to look at the screen and push a button-- which means it's just about as easy to push the "phone" application and select a favorite (especially if the favorites list is already selected).

    2. There is no storage for a voice tag for the entries in the address book. This might actually be possible to add, since you can access the address book data-- including adding records-- but I wouldn't be willing to bet on that. In any case, there's no provision for the capture of such a tag, so your application would need to do that. That might be an issue for the user, in that they'd need to use two separate applications to maintain contact/phone information.

    3. There is the possibility of being able to do a phonetic algorithm to "interpret" what the use is saying and match that with data stored in the address book. This runs into the issue of (1) knowing which number to dial when the application recognizes a given name assuming the user has multiple phone numbers and (2) the amount of horse power available to do the speech processing. Given that the device has trouble scrolling if table cells are set to transparent even when it's able to make use of the on-board CPU and GPU, I'm not sure how well it bodes trying to "understand" what an arbitrary user is trying to say without explicit tags.

    rob.
     
  3. Ryanhdd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, Virginia
  4. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Location:
    First university coding class = 46 years ago
    #4
    It could be done off-phone.

    An app could send your voice to an external server that you subscribe to and store your contacts on, and it sends back the number to dial.

    The trouble is, as robhedin pointed out, you'd still have to manually launch the lookup app and that requires looking at and going through the main menu.

    This is an advantage of other phones with extra physical buttons... they're usually programmable as hotkeys to launch apps or common controls. The iPhone could use a few down one side for use with apps or as iPod controls.
     
  5. Love Juice macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    #5
    definitely possibly ...it's available for jailbroken iphones.
     
  6. GotMac? thread starter macrumors member

    GotMac?

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #6
    Thank you very much rob for that very thorough explanation, I guess my suspicions are correct, which is why an app like this is not in development. Anyway I think I will go back to the thinktank on an idea to try with the SDK.
     
  7. robhedin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2006
    #7
    Right, Voice Dialer does the whole audio tag in a separate application bit, but I believe it also does things that are not allowed or made public through the approved SDK (hooks into Safari, access to hardware, etc). That means that it's unlikely to be present through the AppStore-- at least in it's current incarnation.

    rob.
     
  8. robhedin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2006
    #8
    Voice dialing would be *very* useful, and I personally think it bears looking into. As has been mentioned here already, the VoiceDialer app for jailbroken phones tries to address the problem, however also goes against the limitations of the public SDK. I've got my doubts as to how mainstream jailbreaking will be after July 11-- which will probably depend on the quality and price of applications via the AppStore.

    If you went the audio tag route, your app would need to manage them. But such maintenance probably isn't a major problem as it's pretty much just a one time thing. Having to launch the app is a much bigger issue-- requiring a swipe (to unlock) plus a screen press at a minimum. This could be mitigated somewhat by placing the button in a known location (possibly in the tool bar at the bottom?) so that muscle memory can find it easily. Then, assuming the app came up in "listening" mode automatically...

    The issues primarily revolve around usability more than anything else. Since the app can't run in the background and we don't have access to the hardware directly (i.e. external buttons on headsets, etc), serious usability concerns crop up.

    rob.
     

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