I was churlishly unimpressed by the iTunes "12 days" Christmas promotion this year. However whilst subsequently browsing the iTunes Store home page I did find one app that impressed me enough to blog about.
There's a store section called " Apps Starter Kit " which lists a dozen or so applications that Apple are promoting as "must have" installs for new iOS users. I installed a handful of these to my iPhone 3GS, but the one that has most impressed me so far is the iOS edition of DragonDictate .
It's a "split brain" app, by which I mean it uses "the cloud" to perform the text-to-speech conversion. So far I have been quite impressed with the accuracy of the process, in fact I have created this blog post by dictating while walking the dog, with just a little editing afterwards for tidy up and to add hyperlinks. I suppose it is a little like a poor man's edition of Siri, minus the pretend A.I. and the search and reminders integration.
You can get text by dictating into a text box within the application and there is a quick menu of options that allow you to create an SMS or an e-mail or copy the text to the system clipboard easily for use in other applications. This collaboration isn't too clunky and although dictating text into your phone is a little stilted it doesn't seem to be significantly less effective than my relatively crappy typing on the iPhone on-screen keyboard.
I am not sure I would make a habit of using it for writing long articles or even blog posts like this but I think it could prove to be quite useful for such purposes as short e-mail replies or even sending SMS messages in situations where it's inconvenient to type.