Apple has applied for a patent (number 20180130470) for “virtual assistant activation” that shows efforts to improve Siri. The company’s “personal digital assistant” has been criticized for not measuring up to some of its competitors, such as Alexa. Apple obviously wants to change this.
Apple’s patent filing involves spoken Siri commands that could result in not only spoken results, but haptic feedback, events that last for a pre-determined time, and more.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that, as virtual assistants become increasingly sophisticated, it’s desirable to call upon their assistance under increasing numbers of usage scenarios. Efficient techniques for triggering a virtual assistant are needed. Additionally, in situations where virtual assistants are executing on battery-powered portable electronic devices such as iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches, efficient techniques for triggering virtual assistant while conserving battery-power are particularly helpful.
Here’s the summary of the patent: “At an electronic device with a display, a microphone, and an input device: while the display is on, receiving user input via the input device, the user input meeting a predetermined condition; in accordance with receiving the user input meeting the predetermined condition, sampling audio input received via the microphone; determining whether the audio input comprises a spoken trigger; and in accordance with a determination that audio input comprises the spoken trigger, triggering a virtual assistant session.”
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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