Apple Is Bringing AI Transcription to Voice Memos


Image: John Gress Media Inc (Shutterstock)

I often use the iPhone’s Voice Memos at product briefings for interviews. As you can imagine, transcribing a 20-minute recording could be tedious. Thankfully, AppleInsider has learned of an AI-powered update coming to the Voice Memos and Notes apps on iPhone that will soon be able to transcribe and summarize voice memos on your phone.

According to AppleInsider, you’ll soon be able to go into your Notes app, which is also getting revamped, and see your recorded voice memo with fully transcribed text. The AI summarization feature will also summarize your voice memos with notes, which would be extra helpful in recording lectures, meetings, and panel discussions.

The feature is set to be a part of iOS 18 and will roll out in late 2024. Following the iOS release, we will soon see the feature on macOS 15 and iPadOS 18.

The area in the iPhone Voice Memos app that shows a graphic of the recorded audio will be replaced by a screen displaying live transcription. The Notes app will see a new speech bubble button that can be tapped to show the recorded transcription.

I’m curious to see how well this feature is going to perform. At the end of the day, it’s all AI, and it’s not perfect. I’m not sure if the transcription will work equally well for people with different regional accents. You also need to factor in things like speaking volume and room acoustics. I’m hoping that they will extend the feature to include other languages in the future.

This also makes me think about one of my critiques of the new Rabbit R1: the device would be practically useless as soon as phones get smart enough to offer the same functionality (which will happen sooner than we think). The Teenage Engineering gadget promises a voice recording summarization feature along the way. Still, considering Apple is already rolling that out on our phones, we’d not use a dedicated device for that.



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