Apple interested in bringing Siri to the Mac via iPhone pairing

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014


Apple has shown interest in bringing Siri functionality to other devices, like Macs, by pairing them with an iPhone to share its voice control abilities.



The concept was revealed in a Siri-centric patent application made public this week and discovered by AppleInsider, entitled "Voice Control System." It describes the current Siri system found on the iPhone 4S, but adds the new element of pairing with a second electronic device to grant it voice control.



The filing notes that speech recognition software typically requires extensive hardware and software to operate properly. As a result, it's advantageous to have the bulk of the processing done via a remote server, just how Siri currently operates with the iPhone 4S.



But Apple's latest patent application also describes "a remote device communicatively coupled to the electronic device" that runs Siri. By pairing the iPhone 4S to a second device, like a Mac running OS X, users could extend Siri functionality to that device. Listed as potential devices to be included in the pairing are laptop and desktop computers.



Siri capabilities could even come to devices less functional than a Mac, as the application notes that only one of the electronic devices included in the pairing needs a microphone, processor and storage device. The paired device could be tethered through a wired connection and could gain voice control functionality in that manner as well.



The application also describes ways that Siri could potentially be improved in the future when utilizing two different devices. In one example, a user teaches Siri a new voice command by speaking the word "Play" as they press the "play" button on the paired second electronic device.











In another example, Siri could be configured to distinguish one person from another by the sound of their voice. This would allow the system to "train" itself to better recognize a user's voice, or could even be used to provide custom controls for each individual user.



Siri is currently only available on the iPhone 4S, but Apple's latest patent application describes a way that the company could bring the same functionality to other devices while still keeping the voice processing exclusive to the smartphone. This is advantageous because the iPhone has a persistent wireless data connection to connect to Apple's servers for the speech recognition functionality to work.











Apple's new iPad has a more limited form of voice recognition with a dictation feature, but it too requires a data connection to operate. That means users of a Wi-Fi-only iPad who are on the go without a connection cannot use the dictation feature to translate speech to text.



The "Voice Control System" patent application published this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was originally filed by Apple in September of 2010. It is credited to Fletcher Rothkopf, Stephen Brian Lynch, Adam Mittleman, and Phil Hobson.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,918member
    My desktop Macs also have a persistent connection to the Internet, thanks to ethernet and Comcast.



    I wonder if the real issue here is Apple's licensing agreement with Nuance.
  • Reply 2 of 24
    damensdamens Posts: 35member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post


    My desktop Macs also have a persistent connection to the Internet, thanks to ethernet and Comcast.



    I wonder if the real issue here is Apple's licensing agreement with Nuance.



    This article proffers no explanation as to why an iPhone would be required to bring SIRI functionality to a Mac (other than requiring Mac users to buy a new iPhone - which may be the actual reason I guess).
  • Reply 3 of 24
    My personal feeling is this would be much more likely to apply to an Apple television rather than a Mac. Don't Macs already have a microphone, why would you need the iPhone?
  • Reply 4 of 24
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,595member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Buckeyestar View Post


    My personal feeling is this would be much more likely to apply to an Apple television rather than a Mac. Don't Macs already have a microphone, why would you need the iPhone?



    Absolutely agree. The Mac connection feels totally wrong. Like a RIM move.
  • Reply 5 of 24
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,228member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Buckeyestar View Post


    My personal feeling is this would be much more likely to apply to an Apple television rather than a Mac. Don't Macs already have a microphone, why would you need the iPhone?



    It has been said by Apple that the noise cancellation system built into the iPhone is crucial and that is not there on other devices. Perhaps the iPhone would be used as a mic to control the Mac the way Scotty tried with the mouse and the Mac Plus in the Star Trek movie



    www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9kTVZiJ3Uc
  • Reply 6 of 24
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Buckeyestar View Post


    My personal feeling is this would be much more likely to apply to an Apple television rather than a Mac. Don't Macs already have a microphone, why would you need the iPhone?



    Yeah, when I read i title it made no sense to me. When I saw the first and second device listing what came to mind is my idea of a Bluetooth remote that passes the data to an AppleTV to be sent to a server.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    It has been said by Apple that the noise cancellation system built into the iPhone is crucial and that is not there on other devices. Perhaps the iPhone would be used as a mic to control the Mac the way Scotty tried with the mouse and the Mac Plus in the Star Trek movie



    www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9kTVZiJ3Uc



    But adding that HW to a Mac should be cheap and easy. Having you pair your iPhone to use Siri with your Mac seems like a kludge.
  • Reply 7 of 24
    esummersesummers Posts: 907member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    It has been said by Apple that the noise cancellation system built into the iPhone is crucial and that is not there on other devices. Perhaps the iPhone would be used as a mic to control the Mac the way Scotty tried with the mouse and the Mac Plus in the Star Trek movie



    www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9kTVZiJ3Uc



    In the future we will wear our iPhones on our lapels. ;-)



    Scotty was just off by a couple decades.
  • Reply 8 of 24
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    It has been said by Apple that the noise cancellation system built into the iPhone is crucial and that is not there on other devices.



    The speech recognition on the new iPad works great, it may have this same hardware though.



    I don't see this as an indication that Macs won't get Siri. It's just a patent, patenting the idea of using your phone not as a phone but as a computer (or other device) peripheral. A general purpose controller like a mouse, but a voice controller.
  • Reply 9 of 24
    rabbit_coachrabbit_coach Posts: 1,114member
    I always assumed, that my Mac had somewhat more fire power in the box than my iPhone. Adding voice cancellation and anything else needed to run Siri should be peanuts.

    I think eventually AI misinterpreted this filings.
  • Reply 10 of 24
    rabbit_coachrabbit_coach Posts: 1,114member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    A general purpose controller like a mouse, but a voice controller.



    Agree, this seems more likely. But helps only for actual Mac's, since future Mac's ought to have this as an optional built in functionality.
  • Reply 11 of 24
    If they want to bring iOS to the Mac, how about some of the apps first? It's still hard to believe that I can't read my iBooks on my Mac. What's up with that?
  • Reply 12 of 24
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    ...the noise cancellation system built into the iPhone is crucial and that is not there on other devices...







    I think it is a possible way of cleaning up the sound -- can you imagine holding your iPad, MacBook, iMac, etc? within less than 4" to 6"?



    Would probably work much better with a Vulcan mind meld, but what what about about the rest of us non-Vulcans?



  • Reply 13 of 24
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,228member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Yeah, when I read i title it made no sense to me. When I saw the first and second device listing what came to mind is my idea of a Bluetooth remote that passes the data to an AppleTV to be sent to a server.







    But adding that HW to a Mac should be cheap and easy. Having you pair your iPhone to use Siri with your Mac seems like a kludge.



    And there I was convinced that my comment couldn't be taken seriously!



    But I agree ...
  • Reply 14 of 24
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,228member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post






    I think it is a possible way of cleaning up the sound -- can you imagine holding your iPad, MacBook, iMac, etc… within less than 4" to 6"?



    Would probably work much better with a Vulcan mind meld, but what what about about the rest of us non-Vulcans?







    The 3rd party vendors would love this! A Griffin Acoustic Head Box
  • Reply 15 of 24
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,228member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    The speech recognition on the new iPad works great, it may have this same hardware though.



    I don't see this as an indication that Macs won't get Siri. It's just a patent, patenting the idea of using your phone not as a phone but as a computer (or other device) peripheral. A general purpose controller like a mouse, but a voice controller.



    Yep I do agree, I was just kidding. I'm really hopeful as iOS lends more to OS X we will eventually get Siri not only on iPad but Mac too. It will be like Star Trek one day soon I am sure. I have never forgotten seeing the Voyager Video at Apple HQ all those years ago and have always believed we'd get there one day.
  • Reply 16 of 24
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    How long has it been since every iMac and MacBook and MacBook Pro and MacBook Air has included a microphone - leaving only Mac Mini and Mac Pro without - unless you have a monitor with built in camera and mic already attached?



    I already use the voice translation built into Google Chrome's search engine to do voice to text conversion - and it works fairly well.



    Perhaps I am missing something - but it does not seem to me that there is anything in the iPhone that would be required to achieve Siri functionality on a Mac - maybe offer the iPhone as an option for those who do not already have the necessary mic on their Mac.



    WIth VoiceOver and other text to speech and voice control already in the Mac OS - it would seem not a major challenge to integrate Siri or Siri-like functionality into the Mac.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post


    I wonder if the real issue here is Apple's licensing agreement with Nuance.



    Perhaps why we didn't get it on the iPhone 4 as well.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    Absolutely agree. The Mac connection feels totally wrong. Like a RIM move.



    Looks like some sort of defensive patent not something they would ever do.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    But adding that HW to a Mac should be cheap and easy. Having you pair your iPhone to use Siri with your Mac seems like a kludge.



    If they did, though, it would be seamless the same way that the phone works when paired with your car. It will give you a choice to receive the results on your phone or on your Mac automatically. It could be more convenient than leaning forward to get closer to the mic on the Mac.
  • Reply 18 of 24
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rabbit_Coach View Post


    I always assumed, that my Mac had somewhat more fire power in the box than my iPhone. Adding voice cancellation and anything else needed to run Siri should be peanuts.

    I think eventually AI misinterpreted this filings.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post


    How long has it been since every iMac and MacBook and MacBook Pro and MacBook Air has included a microphone - leaving only Mac Mini and Mac Pro without - unless you have a monitor with built in camera and mic already attached?



    I already use the voice translation built into Google Chrome's search engine to do voice to text conversion - and it works fairly well.



    Perhaps I am missing something - but it does not seem to me that there is anything in the iPhone that would be required to achieve Siri functionality on a Mac - maybe offer the iPhone as an option for those who do not already have the necessary mic on their Mac.



    WIth VoiceOver and other text to speech and voice control already in the Mac OS - it would seem not a major challenge to integrate Siri or Siri-like functionality into the Mac.



    I think what the article is missing is the observation that two microphones are needed for noise cancellation, plus a noise subtraction processor between the two microphones, so that the voice can be isolated for Siri functions. The iPhone 4S has the two mics and the processor, Macs do not.



    I wonder if the new iPad does. Seems like it would be necessary for reliable voice recognition.
  • Reply 19 of 24
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member
    Maybe I'm stupid, but it looks like a specialization of the already existing "delegation pattern" to the particularity of SIRI. Hence, the patent is void and null...



    Then again, I heard there was a patent on "one click to buy".



    Ahemf. Well, a few hours ago, parrots were yelling at Nokia's patenting real useful telco stuff and refusing to let Apple one-arm the standards bodies into their system. I suppose they will yell at Apple, won't they?



    Or logic only applies to the other guy?



    Uh.
  • Reply 20 of 24
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post


    I think what the article is missing is the observation that two microphones are needed for noise cancellation, plus a noise subtraction processor between the two microphones, so that the voice can be isolated for Siri functions. The iPhone 4S has the two mics and the processor, Macs do not.



    I wonder if the new iPad does. Seems like it would be necessary for reliable voice recognition.



    If this additional hardware fits into an iPhone why shouldn't it fit into future Mac's. I don't see a technical problem there.
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