In what appears to be a code hidden deep inside iOS 7’s source, a developer has found references to offline dictation mode (local dictation) and 9to5Mac claims that this could possibly hint at a new iOS 7 feature we’ve not known before.

Offline Dictation is not new to Mac OS X but as a feature, it’s conspicuously missing from iOS 6. Although the dictation feature was introduced in iOS 6 effectively, it still relies on a data network for it to work. In the absence of a data network, dictation becomes disabled.

Offline Dictation In iOS 7

The major point of contention in this space, between iOS and Android, is that the latter provides offline dictation feature. Apple might be trying to trump the card in their favor by adding offline capability to dictation. This does have several advantages.

Special iOS 7 Feature Offline Dictation In iOS 7

By relying on a data network to get dictation working, iOS actually uses up a few resources:

  • CPU processing
  • Data usage
  • Battery

To top this, depending upon the network connectivity, the dictation may take a long time and often end up with a lot of errors. The major disadvantages are:

  • Erroneous transcription
  • Unavailability when network is down or spotty
  • A lot of usage of internal resources including data and battery

By switching to an offline dictionary, Apple’s iOS will clear out a few things:

  1. It no longer needs a data network so it won’t use up your data package.
  2. It will be faster as it processes locally
  3. It will consume lesser power and resources.

There’s one disadvantage though: the size of the iOS firmware will be enormously increased (to the tune of several hundred MBs). A similar-sized package is already running on Mac OS X.

9To5Mac posits that this offline capability could come in other hues too. For instance, the code might be hinting not at a full-fledged offline dictation capability but at a feature that switches to offline mode for dictation whenever the network is down.

Also posited is the possibility of Apple adding offline capabilities to Siri although I don’t see that coming. Siri is used extensively as a personal assistant to manage things but equally extensively, it’s used to fetch stuff from the internet.