Voicemail transcription services integrated in iOS 10.3 | Beta

Voicemail transcription integrated into iMessage

Phone and message icons
Great together

Yesterday, I produced a video that shows deeper integration of Weather in the iOS Maps application.

It would seem that 10.3, which should be the last versioned incremental update for iOS until iOS 11, is focused on integration of services where they would seem relevant, and elevate the user experience by bringing data into one app from another, where app switching would be required for the same cognizance.

Today, I got an SMS message from the SMS link service in an iMessage thread that stated a voice message could not not be properly transcribed:

Screen cap of Sms link notification
SMS link notification in iMessage

Voicemail transcription is nothing new, but it happens in the Phone app. When I tapped on the number at the bottom, (the SMS link service number) I heard the voicemail that was left for me but could not be transcribed.

Field Testing

Naturally, I wanted to find out what would happen if someone else called the number presented to me, and also what would happen if the message was successfully transcribed.

When I asked someone else to call the SMS Link service number, they told me they were challenged for authentication with a password.

Sms link screen cap
Password required to listen

So that covers security and privacy.

I then instructed that person to call me and leave a voicemail using alphabet phonetics:

Successful SMS link transcription
A successful voicemail transcribed shows up in the iMessage thread as if it were part of the conversation.

It works

Sms link transcription success
It works, and provides congruency to the UX


This is just another example of how communications on mobile devices can be improved when continuity is placed out front. It wasn’t too long ago when some mobile operating systems would come with 2 and even 3 messing and phone applications.

Now we have an example of Apple converging the data presentations of the Phone app and the messages app. While we (hopefully) will never abandon real time voice communications, having a text transcription of voice communications sent to us when we are not available to engage in voice communication, and having that transcription presented in the application that maintains the continuity of the conversation is certainly the best design for an elevated user experience.

Also published on Medium.

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