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Apple patent involves using Siri to handle incoming iPhone calls

Apple has been granted a patent (number 20180146089) for an “intelligent digital assistant for declining an incoming call.” The tech giant wants to make it possible for Siri to help you manage phone calls.

In the patent filing, Apple notes that when you receive a call on a smartphone, the smartphone typically provides options to either answer the call or decline the call. However, simply declining of the call doesn’t provide any information to the caller regarding your status or the reason why you can’t answer the call. For example, the caller may not know whether you’re declining the call because you’re driving, attending a meeting — or maybe you simply don’t want to pick up the call. Apple wants its Siri digital assistant to “enable intelligent declining of an incoming call in a more informative and communicative manner. Response options can be determined based on user-specific data, and can be more communicative regarding the reason for declining the call. 

Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “Systems and processes for operating a digital assistant are provided. In one example, a method includes receiving an incoming call. In response to receiving the incoming call, the method further includes obtaining one or more user-specific data items. The method further includes determining one or more user status options; and determining one or more confidence values associated with the one or more user status options. 

“The method further includes in accordance with the determination of the one or more confidence values exceeding a predetermined threshold, providing a plurality of response options associated with declining the incoming call. The method further includes receiving a selection of a response option from the plurality of response options; and declining the call based on the selected response option.”

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.


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the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.
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