Using Siri to take notes on my iPhone

When I bought my iPhone, one of my biggest worries was that I'd lose my ability to do dictation, that is talk-to-text. On my Android, I had purchased the Flex9 keyboard (apparently, this has been discontinued), which supported both swype and speech-to-text. I talked briefly about this feature on my Reflections on Writing post. I knew that I could do dictation on the iPhone using Dragon, but Dragon doesn't integrate into the keyboard, such that you need to constantly switch apps. This was not going to work nearly as well for my workflow.

So, one of the first things I did when I bought my iPhone (iPhone 4S) was to turn on Siri. I tried it out and was truly amazed at the speed. It was lightening fast compared to Dragon, and it seem to do a better job understanding my Canadian accent. So, I must say, I love Siri.

Siri has changed my workflow when I read articles for literature reviews. Now when I read, I also take notes at the same time. I still annotate the article using iAnnotate, but also take a couple of seconds and record the quotes and my thoughts directly into an Evernote note while I'm reading. This only takes a brief moment because I can dictate my thoughts directly into Evernote using Siri. This little just-in-time dictation means that I don't need to re-examine the paper a second time when I get back to my computer. My notes are already captured, and all I need to do is file the PDF. Since the notes or stored in Evernote, they are easily accessible and fully searchable. Here is a demo:

I've also tried out Siri on the iPad3, and it is equally impressive. Unfortunately, Siri isn't available on the iPad2. It appears, I have yet another reason to upgrade :)


4 Comments on Using Siri to take notes on my iPhone

  1. Thanks. As I use evernote a lot I will try it.
    The first times I tried Siri there was a lot of missunderstandig. But my impression is "she" learns. So I hope with a little training Siri gets German as fast as "Canadian" :-)

  2. Evernote now has text-to-speech incoroporated in the Android app.
    It's not perfect, but it's better than the Samsung app. Apparently, you can set it to a Canadian accent (, but mine already was Canadian and wasn't fantastic. (Of course, my accent may not be standard – it may be a Connecticut/Edmonton/Ottawa hybrid. I apparently say "mayonnaise" and "avenue" like an American, but I can hear that I've shifted to Ottawan for "car" since I've moded here. Sorry – my dad's a linguist, I get off track sometimes.)
    What I like about Evernote is that it also saves the audio file. I'd prefer a better transcription, but at least I can go back and listen to it again to fix what it gives me.
    Anyway, Nuance doesn't look promising at the moment. All they have is , which gets mediocre reviews and it's not compatbile with my Galaxy 2. I'll let you know what else I find.
    Thanks again for the interesting post!

  3. This is exactly what I'm looking for! I'm still on Android, though. Anyone know if there are other good speech-to-text apps for Android? The built-in Samsung Voice stuff is awful. I can only get it to work if I. stop. talking. completely. between. each. word. I guess I'll keep googling until I find something.
    (I want to use this for taking notes on library books. If it's my own book, I can underline in pencil, or I can hilight in ebooks.)

    • The Flex9 keyboard for Android did the same thing, it just wasn’t as good (it was a $5 app). Take a look at Nuance (the makers for Dragon) and see what they are building to reply Flex9. I’d be interested to here how it works.

Leave a Reply