One area where the Mac has consistently lagged behind the Windows world is in dictation. Sure, the Mac has software out there, but none of it is very good, while Windows has Dragon NaturallySpeaking, a voice-recognition program that reportedly allows natural dictation with little training.
That gap is finally narrowing. Next month, MacSpeech will release the $200 Dictate, which is based on the NaturallySpeaking software, to bring parity to the Mac world. It does not have all of the features of its Windows counterpart yet (for example, you cannot use voice commands to correct mistakes), but the company says they are working on it, and the report is that the accuracy is outstanding even with no training.
The back story behind this release is pretty interesting. It turns out that Andrew Taylor, the creator of iListen (another speech recognition application for the Mac), is a former Dragon engineer who wanted to bring the Dragon algorithm to the Mac, but found the terms too onerous to be practical, opting instead to use not-as-good software from Philips. That was many years ago. Now, ownership of NaturallySpeaking has changed hands and negotiated a deal that Taylor can live with.