The theme of the last year’s release of OS X 10.7 Lion was “back to the Mac.” The update introduced several features to OS X that had proven useful and popular on the iOS platform. The upcoming release of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion appears to be continuing that trend. Several major features of iOS – some of which were only just introduced with iOS 5 – are making the jump to OS X when Mountain Lion comes out sometime late in the summer. Features that are coming “back to the Mac” this time include the Notification Center, the Notes and Reminders apps, Twitter integration, and iMessage.
It may be, though, that there’s another iOS feature that will be making its way to the Mac with Mountain Lion, one that Apple hasn’t officially announced. According to 9to5Mac, the latest beta of Mountain Lion contains references to a keyboard shortcut that launches Dictation. Dication, in case you’re not familiar with it, is a feature that was introduced alongside Siri in the iPhone 4S, and made its way to the new iPad back in March. The way dictation works is pretty simple: if you’re in a field on your iPhone or iPad where you can type (e.g., the Messages app, Mail, Notes, or literally anywhere else) you simply tap the microphone and start talking.
Interestingly, the Dictation feature isn’t actually functional in the version of Mountain Lion in which the reference to it was found. That raises the possibility that the feature will not work for everyone. It could be that, as with Siri, the new feature will be hardware specific. In that case, the feature will probably be held for the new MacBook Pros, iMacs and MacBook Airs that are rumored to also be coming late this summer.
Of course, one reference to Dictation in the beta version of OS X doesn’t necessarily mean that the feature will be coming. It could well be that Apple is experimenting with the feature, or that they have experimented with it and abandoned it, and left this reference in by mistake.
On the other hand, Dictation makes good sense as a feature to bring to the Mac, so there’s a good chance that we will see it in Mountain Lion. What doesn’t make sense, though, is leaving the feature hardware-specific. It’s hard to imagine that any computer that had the hardware capability to support Mountain Lion wouldn’t be able to support Dictation.