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Apple working to improve iPhone autocorrect by detecting typing speed, word intent

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Apple continues to research technologies that would contribute to improved accuracy of the autocorrect feature that fixes errors when typing on its devices.

The details come from three patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and discovered by AppleInsider on Thursday. Two of the filings deal specifically with automatic typing and spelling correction, while a third application could indirectly relate to the feature.

Timing and Geometry

Application No. 12/976834, titled "Combining timing and geometry information for typing correction," describes a process for using keystroke geometry and timing to better detect a user's intended input.

In one embodiment of the invention, a string of typed characters is timestamped and can be analyzed by a process for use in either autocorrection or autocompletion. The invention also suggests that "baseline typing speed data" could be gathered in order to determine whether double strikes, transpositions or other errors have occurred.

"For example, if the string ?theere? is entered and the time between the keystrokes ?ee? is less than an associated baseline by more than a threshold amount, the replacement candidate ?there? may be assigned a higher score," the application read.

Apple's invention could start with a pre-determined typing speed that would be monitored and adjusted in case users type slower or faster than a "typical" user.

Autocorrect


The system would also take into account the location of letters on the keyboard and the geometry of the typed words in order to catch mistakes.

"For example, a word that is similar to the typed text except for one or more errors associated potentially with keyboard geometry, such as differing by a letter where the correct letter is located adjacent to the typed incorrect letter on the keyboard, may be suggested," Apple wrote.

Douglas Davidson and Karan Misra are named as the inventors of the patent, which Apple filed for in late 2010.

Parts of Speech

A second autocorrect-related patent application (No. 12/976849) is entitled "Using parts-of-speech tagging and named entity recognition for spelling correction." The proposed process involves understanding the context surrounding typed words in order to tag their parts of speech and identify named entities, such as differentiating between the company "Apple" and reference to the fruit.

The technical details for Apple's invention are relatively advanced, as they involve a "statistical language model." That process would involve parsing words, phrases and sentences and would make use of clues like capitalization, suffixes and prefixes and other "contextual features."

Apple filed for the patent in December 2010. Brent Ramerth, Douglas Davidson and Jennifer Moore are listed as its inventors.

Autocorrect 2


Contextual Lookup

Apple's application for "Using statistical language models for contextual lookup" (No. 12/976864), closely resembles the aforementioned parts-of-speech tagging application, but it describes a system for applying language processing to search queries.

According to the invention, a process for analyzing parts of speech could help make searching documents or the Internet more efficient. In its filing, Apple provided examples of phrases and words that could be interpreted different ways and would benefit from a process for forming specific and targeted searches.

Autocorrect Lawsuit

Apple has put some of its autocorrect-related patents to work in its legal complaint against rival handset maker Samsung. In February, the compiled asserted a patent for a "Method, system, and graphical user interface for providing word recommendations" against the South Korean company.

Autocorrect on the iPhone has also entered popular culture by giving rise to several Websites documenting humorous or embarrassing instances of the feature, such as Damn You Auto Correct! and Autocorrect Fail.
post #2 of 16

I hope they fix it, as I turn autocorrect off.  A must fix!

post #3 of 16

Improvement on this feature would be greatly appreciated by everyone in Germany I guess. I don't have a lot of experience in using autocorrection with other languages but the German autocorrection on iOS is something I wouldn't even consider beta. Simply replacing correct words every time with nonsensical suggestions has been annoying the crap out of me (and EVERYone I have met) for ages. One of the things that I simply cannot understand (amongst other obvious issues with Apple's software that remain unfixed) :-/

post #4 of 16

I second that.  I type so fast sometimes that the auto correct thinks i made a typing error and omits certain characters.  I thought it was just a flaw in the keyboard software but I can see the keys being highlighted when i type and then they don't show up in the text box.  Words like "the" change to "he".  letters that are close together on the keyboard get dropped if typed too quickly.

 

Edit: I've seen this happen more often on the iPad than the iPhone.


Edited by antkm1 - 6/28/12 at 5:59am
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


The system would also take into account the location of letters on the keyboard and the geometry of the typed words in order to catch mistakes.
"For example, a word that is similar to the typed text except for one or more errors associated potentially with keyboard geometry, such as differing by a letter where the correct letter is located adjacent to the typed incorrect letter on the keyboard, may be suggested," Apple wrote.

 

I assumed this was how it always worked ! And with the time stamped letters. Seemed too obvious to even consider applying for a patent at the time.

 

EDIT: I was working on an alternative text input technology just after the release of the first iPhone. 


Edited by monstrosity - 6/28/12 at 5:56am
post #6 of 16

I'd like them to add the ability to choose "Automatic by Language" for spelling and grammar (as on the Mac). Otherwise it only checks spelling and grammar for the language which is set. So if you're multilingual you'd have to change the language every time which is a pain.

post #7 of 16

As I read this article I was texting on my phone and thought "it might be interesting if it could analyze what you're responding to (i.e. an email or text) and from that be able to theorize or understand what you might reply with and correct or suggest your texting towards that type of response"

 

For example:  Someone texts you, "Do you want to have lunch tomorrow?"  A normal response might be "What time?"  So when you accidentally type "why" instead of "what" it can analyze the message you're replying to and suggest "what" based on that previous message.  Might be a little complex and not useful, but just something relevant that I just thought of.

 

As is, I don't have too much of a problem with typing on an iPhone.  

"We are what we repeatedly do.  Therefor, excellence is not an act, but a habit." --Aristotle

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"We are what we repeatedly do.  Therefor, excellence is not an act, but a habit." --Aristotle

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post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cedric View Post

I'd like them to add the ability to choose "Automatic by Language" for spelling and grammar (as on the Mac). Otherwise it only checks spelling and grammar for the language which is set. So if you're multilingual you'd have to change the language every time which is a pain.

 

I use my Iphone every day in French and English, the autocorrection follows the keyboard layout not the language, my phone is set to English but an AZERTY keyboard corrects in French.  I think that this may even be configured in the international/keyboards settings. iOS does not do grammar yet though.

post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Autocorrect on the iPhone has also entered popular culture by giving rise to several Websites documenting humorous or embarrassing instances of the feature, such as Damn You Auto Correct! and Autocorrect Fail.

This is the only good outcome of the auto-incorrect feature so far. Always good for a laugh.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by smiffy31 View Post

 

I use my Iphone every day in French and English, the autocorrection follows the keyboard layout not the language, my phone is set to English but an AZERTY keyboard corrects in French.  I think that this may even be configured in the international/keyboards settings. iOS does not do grammar yet though.

I use Spanish and English, however unlike French, Spanish uses a lot of English words and conversely many nouns in use in California also have Spanish meanings. Needless to say the auto correct feature is completely unusable in these situations regardless of which keyboard I happen to be using. Text communication on iOS is a lot better with it turned off. I'd rather live with a few typos than to completely miscommunicate due to some ridiculous word substitution.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #11 of 16
The autocorrect works reasonably well for me, but I REALLY wish they would add back & forward cursor arrow keys in addition to the back space key.
post #12 of 16
I must be the only person who doesn't care.
 
I don't use autocomplete or autocorrect or check-spelling-as-you-type or anything similar, and I never will. I turn all these things off on any and all electronic devices, because they interfere with learning to spell and type correctly and rapidly. They are crutches that cause you to train yourself to type wrong and make mistakes. They might save you a second or two in the short term, but in the long term you repeatedly condition and reinforce your own ineptitude, requiring the devices to be eternally vigilant to fix your own ingrained incompetence.
 
Why, oh why, do so many people desire auto-correction and auto-completion and think they are a big deal?
post #13 of 16

Good, because I find the auto-speaking is probably slowing down the typing. As a touch-typist -- I'm faster than the screen seems able to keep up -- they can be turning off prediction and other things unless there is a half second pause consistently between words -- if someone is typing faster, likely their prediction algorithms are slowing the process down of just registering the key press. There's also the "nearest key intent" so if you were intending "E" but got closer to "R" and the user has a LOT of near misses, then you have to look at the sentence and the word to "guess" what the intent was. It would be better if the INTENT engine waited on the whole word, that way if someone typed thrsaurus -- the spelling engine coupled with a "cached" concept of where the stroke intent was for the R/E would replace it with thesaurus.

 

There is a LOT of tweaking that could be done. And the user should get options -- like I PREFER the strip of guessed words that Android places at the bottom of the screen to the technique Apple uses. It should be easy and more helpful to have more than one way to do this.

post #14 of 16
I'd be happy if they would just turn off the "intent" part of autocorrect. I'm tired of typing "do" only for it to be changed to "to" or "so." I think I know what I'm trying to type better than you, Mr. iOS, thanks.

If they REALLY wanted to make me happy, they'd give me the ability to add words to the dictionary, so it would stop trying to autocorrect names of people and places its not familiar with.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheat Williams View Post

I don't use autocomplete or autocorrect or check-spelling-as-you-type or anything similar, and I never will.

Okay. Enjoy being forced to be 100% accurate in perpetuity. The preceding is also the answer to your post's last question.
Quote:
I turn all these things off on any and all electronic devices, because they interfere with learning to spell and type correctly and rapidly. They are crutches that cause you to train yourself to type wrong and make mistakes. They might save you a second or two in the short term, but in the long term you repeatedly condition and reinforce your own ineptitude, requiring the devices to be eternally vigilant to fix your own ingrained incompetence.

Or they just make you better typists overall. I type more accurately since Lion's introduction thereof.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #16 of 16

I really wish they'd allow for manual entry of words, like it is in OS X, to ignore or autocorrect to something custom.

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