Phone calls — the original electronic communications, after the telegraph anyhow — are still an important part of life today. We might take our calls on pocket-sized supercomputers, but they’re still phone calls. And there’s nothing more annoying than having to break out of your work to reach in your pocket and take a phone call. Plus, if you want to call someone whose number you found online, it’s annoying you can’t just copy the number and call it directly without using having money in Skype.
That’s all changed, now, with the new app Dialogue. Rather than routing all of your calls over the internet, it lets you use your phone — any phone with Bluetooth 2.0 or newer, not just an iPhone — directly through your Mac. Here’s how.
The World’s Largest Bluetooth Headset: Your Mac
Imagine this: you sit down at your desk, ready to work. A half hour later, a phone call comes in. You see a notification right on your screen, complete with caller ID, and can either accept it and get the call done in one click, or you can decline it and keep on working. An hour later, you need to call your client about the project you’re working on, so you just head up to your Mac menubar, search for their name, and call them instantly from your Mac. Perhaps you need to keep a record of the call, so you let them know and then start recording your conversation. With that done, you go back to work — but then you get a call right before you’re done with work. You start the conversation on the Mac, then when you’re done working you just pull your phone out and keep talking.
Sound good? With Dialogue, that’s entirely possible.
It’s insanely easy to get working. You install the app, then turn your phone’s Bluetooth on and click Connect in the Dialogue app. You’ll need to select your phone from the nearby devices, then seconds later you’ll be connected. That’s it. Best of all, if you go away from your Mac and come back, or the next time you restart the Dialogue, it will automatically reconnect to your phone without you doing anything.
Now, any call that comes into your phone will bring up a Dialogue notification as seen in the first picture, where you can accept or decline the call. It’s essentially getting your phone to treat your Mac as a Bluetooth headset, and routing the audio through your Mac. Obviously, you’ll get the best results with a headset connected to your Mac, but that’s easy enough if you’re already using your Apple earbuds to listen to music throughout the workday.
Making a call is equally easy. You can search through your contacts and call numbers with a single click, straight from your Mac. And, as mentioned before, you can record audio of calls with one tap while you’re on a call, though you should remember to tell the person that you’re talking to that you’ll be recording the call, or otherwise it could be illegal in some areas.
Wait While I Pause iTunes
Dialogue works great for the most part — I did get it to crash once by hanging up on the phone instead of through the app, though then couldn’t get it to crash again with the same thing afterwards. But, it isn’t 100% smart. It won’t pause your iTunes music while you’re on a call, or mute other audio. And, there’s no way to accept or decline a call with a keyboard shortcut, something that’d make the app an even better productivity boost. Here’s to hoping it’ll improve going forward.
An App That’ll Be Even Better in Mavericks
Dialogue is great today, but in just a few more months, it’ll seem like an even more obvious part of your workflow when iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks are released, since Mavericks is supposed to have unified notifications from your iPhone. When one of your iPhone apps sends you a push notification, it can show up on your Mac desktop so you’ll stay informed without having to pull your phone out of your pocket. And now, with Dialogue, you’ll be able to take your calls just the same — straight from your Mac, without having to stop what you’re doing.
If Facetime and Skype already keep you from needing to make normal voice calls that often, you might not find Dialogue that needed. But, if you’ve ever wished there was a way to make normal calls straight from your Mac, Dialogue is a no-brainer to buy. It works great, looks great, and makes a lot more sense than wearing a bluetooth headset all day.
Now, the Zebraa team just needs to make it a little smarter, and it’d be the perfect Mac+phone integration.