Apple is apparently adding support for speech-to-text input to iOS 5. While speech recognition wasn’t one of the features Apple mentioned when introducing the next-generation mobile operating system, the folks at 9 to 5 Mac found a special keyboard hidden away in the latest iOS 5 beta with a microphone next to the space bar.

When you tap the microphone icon, a new screen opens showing a larger microphone. The feature isn’t fully functional yet, but it looks like you’ll be able to talk to your device for a period of time and then iOS will attempt to convert your words into speech, allowing you to enter text much more quickly — or in situations where tapping on the keyboard might not be an option.

Apple didn’t make the new feature easy to hide. The special keyboard and the microphone button are both labeled with misleading names in the latest beta. But it certainly eems like Apple is hoping to have the system in place by the time iOS 5 is released to the public.

Google Android already has speech recognition built into the operating system.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...

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