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Apple has featured Voice Dictation as one of the marquee features of the new iPad. Either through a app that ships with the iPad or an App Store one, can the iPad record audio (as for a podcast) and at the same time transcribe the text therein?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

No, this does not work.

I started a background recording with DropVox, then switched over to PlainText and tapped the dictation button and dictated a sentence. I then switched back to DropVox and it looked like it was still recording (the counter was still going up). I stopped it, it uploaded the file, but when I listened to it the start and end were there, but the part from when I started dictating to when I opened DropVox back up wasn't. Very strange, but ultimately the answer is it doesn't work.

If you're curious, the resultant audio file can be found here. "And it looks like the timer's still going" was said after DropVox opened back up.

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alas! Transcripts of podcasts would have been a great thing. – Daniel Mar 23 '12 at 3:56
@DanielL We might be able to feed the podcast file through the dictation feature – Kyle Cronin Mar 23 '12 at 3:57

OK, so a possible workflow is thus:

  1. Record audio file
  2. Transfer audio file to iPhone or iPod touch
  3. Sit iPhone/iPod touch next to iPad
  4. Get text editor app set up to transcribe on iPad
  5. Play audio via speakers on iPhone/iPod touch
  6. Generate transcript of audio file
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I've had a look in developer docs and I don't think it's possible for any app to do this. I was thinking of a line input recording audio while Voice Dictation processes input from the built-in mic - but the developer docs don't show me any way to select which audio input is active at any one time.

There is only a simple boolean available to AVAudioSession, the class providing the recording context for an iOS app, to determine whether an audio input source is available with no means of enumerating or selecting any specific input.

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