As great as our iPhones are for games, social networks, photography, and much more, there’s still one thing that we tend to forget sometimes — it’s still a phone. It just so happens that it is great for plenty of other things as well.
I don’t do many phone calls anymore, but when I do get a call in, sometimes I just don’t feel like picking up my phone, especially if I’m on my Mac and my phone is across the room. While you can always go out and buy a Bluetooth headset, if you have a Mac, then your computer can now serve as your — albeit a bit giant — headset. How? Thanks to the newish app, Dialogue, handsfree calling can be routed through your computer instead.
Dialogue is a simple Mac app that pairs with your iPhone (or any other mobile phone that supports Bluetooth 2.0) through Bluetooth. If this isn’t set up yet, the process is quite easy, and only takes a few minutes. Once your iPhone and Mac are paired, Dialogue will work its magic as it sits in your Mac’s menubar as a phone icon. Clicking on the phone icon will reveal a popover containing just a search bar and a connect/disconnect button.
With the search bar, you can actually search through your contacts on Mountain Lion thanks to iCloud. Unfortunately, the app cannot search directly through your iPhone’s contacts, which may be a drawback for those who do not use iCloud sync for contacts, or another method of getting their contacts onto their Mac.
Once you find the number you want, clicking on it will initiate a call through your iPhone, using your Mac as the microphone and speaker. Alternatively, you can start typing in a number that you don’t have in your Address Book, and make a call that way.
When calls are placed through Dialogue, you will see a popup window on your Mac with Incoming/Outgoing Call, the name of the contact, duration, and buttons for answering, declining, and hanging up. Another cool feature with Dialogue is the fact that you are able to record your phone call directly to your Mac. This is especially useful if you take an important call, such as an interview, and need to transcribe it later. Recordings will be saved in .mp4 format, and audio quality depends on input and cellular coverage, as well as the strength of your Bluetooth connection.
To see Dialogue in action, check out the video below.
As I mentioned before, I don’t do many phone calls, but I did some testing with Dialogue over the past few days. The quality is largely dependent on your own cellular coverage, but from my tests, calls seemed stable, though there is a slight delay (about a second) in the audio. I believe that this is just a limitation of Apple’s implementation of Bluetooth, however, and there isn’t much that can be done at this point.
The current execution of Dialogue is simple and works, but it can definitely be improved. Currently, if you start typing in the search bar, the only way to delete the current text is to keep hitting delete or manually highlight with your cursor. I would like to see a way to be able to hit ⌘A to select all text, since this is much faster. Also, there definitely needs to be an option for a keyboard shortcut to bring up Dialogue — the only way right now is to manually click the phone icon in your menubar.
Since Dialogue is a bit on the pricier side at $6.99 in the Mac App Store, I can only recommend this app if you make or receive a lot of phone calls on your iPhone. However, for that purpose, the app works well, and is a great utility.
GIVEAWAY: Fortunately, I have three copies of Dialogue for Mac to give away to some lucky AppAdvice readers! For your chance of winning a copy, just leave a comment on this post (with a valid email so that I may contact the winners) with how you would use Dialogue on a daily basis. I will pick the winners on Wednesday, Aug. 7 at 8 p.m. PDT. Good luck!