Forget the “personal digital assistant” (that would be Apple’s Siri, of course). The tech giant wants your Mac to serve as your “lifestyle companion system.” The company has been granted a patent for “systems and methods for providing audio and visual cues via a portable electronic device.”
Interestingly, when you think of a “portable electronic device,” you think of the iPhone. However, the images accompanying the patent clearly show a macOS type interface, as well as an iPad-looking device.
Whatever hardware is involved, Apple’s lifestyle companion system would provide a platform to conduct a user interview. Based on the user interview responses, the system would suggest activities, references, and/or plug-in modules. During performance of activities, the system can provide audio and/or visual cues related to the activities and collect data indicative of the user's performance.
Based on the collected data, the system can dynamically adapt the user's goals and/or activities the user is performing or will perform. In some embodiments of the present invention, the lifestyle companion system of the present invention can be applied to fitness, nutrition, and/or medical modules. The system also can be used to facilitate synchronous group activities.
The lifestyle companion system can integrate user-selectable plug-in modules that are focused on specialized topics. For example, plug-in modules can be specialized for particular periods in a child's development, students, expectant parents, new parents, seniors, specific sports enthusiasts, food connoisseurs, geographical regions, health conditions, holidays, etc. Each module can have coordinating questionnaires, suggested activities, suggested references, instructions, logging tools, audiobooks, videos, podcasts and other types of activities or information tailored for the specialty of the module.
What’s more, user data can be collected using a tracking device that stores the data itself or transmits the data to a local server, a central server, a server dedicated to storage of user profile information, or any combination thereof. Tracking devices can include passive tracking devices that require the user and/or another authorized entity to manually enter user data, active tracking devices having sensors that automatically gather data about the user and/or activities performed by the user, or any combination thereof. In one embodiment of the present invention, sensors of the active tracking devices can be attached to the user (e.g., in clothing or accessories) or disposed in equipment used by the user.
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.