Apple granted a patent for a voice and touch user interface for CarPlay

Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,719,797) for a voice and touch user interface for CarPlay. Compatible with iPhone 5 and later models, CarPlay provides a simplified way to use your iPhone interface on a car’s touch screen, giving users access to Siri voice controls, as well as Apple Maps, Apple Music, Phone, Messages, and a variety of third party apps.

The invention involves an electronic device capable of touch input through a touch-sensitive surface and/or voice input through a microphone. Apple says the electronic device may be used in an automobile. For example, some or all of the gadget may be mounted in a CarPlay dashboard for use while driving. 

The system could provide informational content, entertainment content, navigation, and communication features in such a manner that user interaction may be minimized, thus providing a safe driving experience, according to Apple. This can be accomplished by performing tasks and presenting content automatically, without the need for user input, and by allowing user input through voice controls, touch screen controls, and/or physical controls mounted on the dashboard or steering wheel, among other possibilities.

In the patent filing, Apple says that many automobiles provide dashboard computers with navigation and content applications. However, most dashboard computer solutions rely on unintuitive user interfaces that are difficult to operate in a hands-free and safe manner while driving. Apple wants to change this.

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.