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Dear Aunt TUAW: What is this "Voice Control" thing?


Dear Aunt TUAW,

I discovered by accident that I can hold down the home button on the iPhone 4 and it brings up Voice Control. I don't remember this being there before. Is this some sort of Siri light functionality for the iPhone 4? I can use it to makes calls and FaceTime someone, but not much else.

Your loving nephew,


Dear Douglas,

Think of Voice Control as Siri's, well, not Mom...maybe Siri's Aunt? Yeah. Exactly. Voice Control is basically an older, less stylish version of Siri -- far more approachable, slightly less sexy. And with a worse sense of humor.

First introduced on the iPhone 3GS, Voice Control offers hand-free dialing and basic music controls. As with Siri, you can press and hold the Home button to bring up the assistant. There you can say "Call Dave at Home" or "FaceTime Steve" or "Next Track" or "Play Songs by Parry Gripp" (Auntie is a huge Parry Gripp fan). When Voice Control is running, recommended, speakable phrases scroll across the screen.

You can use Voice Control on the 3GS and later and on newer model iPod touches. If you disable Siri on the 4S or haven't gotten around to enabling it, the 4S uses Voice Control instead. Apple has never really done the whole hands-free thing on the iPad, which is a shame because Auntie thinks that Siri would rock on the iPad, but that's the topic for a whole different post.


Auntie T.

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