Maps and Siri may one day work even better together, especially on the Apple Watch

Apple’s Maps app and its Siri personal digital assistant may one day work even better together, especially on an Apple Watch. Apple has filed for a patent (number 20190003849) for “user interactions for a mapping application.”

It relates to relates to systems and processes for interacting with mapping applications. Mainly, more integrated interaction between Maps and Siri.

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In the patent filing, Apple notes that mapping apps have become increasingly popular due to the proliferation of location-aware mobile electronic devices. Typically, users can interact with these mapping applications using touch-sensitive displays that are capable of both receiving user input and displaying portions of a map. 

While interacting with mapping applications in this way can be intuitive and simple on many electronic devices, it can be problematic when performed on compact mobile electronic devices having smaller displays. For example, it can be difficult to view route navigation directions overlaid on a map when displayed on a display of a compact mobile electronic device, such as a watch. 

Similarly, it can be difficult to type an address using a virtual keyboard displayed on the display of a compact mobile electronic device. Apple wants to address this.

Here’s the summary of the invention: “A virtual assistant server can efficiently communicate with a map server to provide a user with map data in response to spoken user requests received at a user device. In another example, communicatively coupled electronic devices can be synchronized such that a location marker generated on one device can be displayed on the other device. 

“In another example, an electronic device can display simplified views of individual route directions that can be updated based on movement of the user or in response to user requests. In another example, an electronic device can selectively display an interface including a current location of a user or an interface including a route to a predicted destination based on contextual information associated with the user. The interfaces can include affordances for launching an associated mapping application.”

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.