Apple granted key voice command technology patent

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple on Tuesday was granted a patent for technology that offloads voice commands with contextual information to an off-site computer for processing, one of the key features that allows the company's Siri virtual assistant to operate.

While not specifically named in U.S. Patent No. 8,296,383 for "Electronic devices with voice command and contextual data processing capabilities," the invention is closely associated with how Siri operates and may be, at least in part, powering the voice-recognizing assistant.

First filed for in 2008, well before Apple purchased Siri in 2010, the patent describes a method and system in which a portable electronic device like the iPhone records a voice command and corresponding contextual information. The iPhone then sends the data to an off-site server for processing, which either responds to the voice command or sends back information to the handset that allows the device to execute the command.

Voice Command
Flowchart illustrating '383 patent's operational steps. | Source: USPTO


At the time, some of Apple's iDevice products used on-board voice commands to play music, tell time, or in the case of the iPhone, call contacts. While useful, the system was limited to certain operations due to the processing power and storage requirements necessary to respond to advanced user commands.

With the advent of fast data networks, Apple's patent allows for more sophisticated commands to be off-loaded from the device and carried out remotely in near real-time.

Key to the invention is contextual information, which is referred to as metadata, regarding the operating state of the device. For example, a user can perform an operation to look for more songs like the one that is currently playing on the handset by saying, "Find more like this." Another example would be location data, which can be used to "find nearby American restaurants," or similar commands.

It is not known if the '383 patent's technology is being used as a basis for Siri, however the virtual assistant is known to work in much the same way. Apple recently filed a patent application for the features that power Siri, including the ability to recognize conversational input.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20


    INB4 Android fanboy whine

     

  • Reply 2 of 20
    zozmanzozman Posts: 393member
    Sadly these patents don't mean that much anymore, after reading the other article, the patent office can reverse these things willy nilly now i guess :S
  • Reply 3 of 20


    Now, I have to say I never liked the idea of sending my every command to a server in the cloud, so maybe this will lead to the happy situation that Apple offers a fabulous service with Siri, and someone else (IBM?) creates a Dragon-like embedded version that works also great.


     


    At least, it will prevent Google from doing the same.

  • Reply 4 of 20
    Data processing centres beware!

    In fact it is obviously a combined way for Apple to harvest and own user data.
    Who needs Google search now.

    I quite expect that to be gone in the next year or so too.
  • Reply 5 of 20
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lightknight View Post


    Now, I have to say I never liked the idea of sending my every command to a server in the cloud, so maybe this will lead to the happy situation that Apple offers a fabulous service with Siri, and someone else (IBM?) creates a Dragon-like embedded version that works also great.


     


    At least, it will prevent Google from doing the same.



    It drives me nuts how much WORSE Siri works for calling people and for launching music than the offline system used to work. I wish they would do something about that!

  • Reply 6 of 20
    mac voyermac voyer Posts: 1,283member


    It doesn't matter. Everyone will just copy it and have the patent invalidated retroactively. I am finally on the, "the system is broken" train.

  • Reply 7 of 20
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lightknight View Post


    Now, I have to say I never liked the idea of sending my every command to a server in the cloud, so maybe this will lead to the happy situation that Apple offers a fabulous service with Siri, and someone else (IBM?) creates a Dragon-like embedded version that works also great.


     


    At least, it will prevent Google from doing the same.





    Too bad that Google's version already does offline voice recognition.

  • Reply 9 of 20
    doggonedoggone Posts: 191member
    Sadly have to agree. Patents are becoming increasingly useless in the electronics industry.
    All a company needs to do is copy the tech and stonewall in court. The USPTO approves patents too easily and they are a cinch to overturn in court.

    The only guys that win are the lawyers. And they really don't need any more money.
  • Reply 10 of 20

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lightknight View Post


    INB4 Android fanboy whine

     



     


     


    No, it may inspire others to do the BEST implementation yet on the concept.


    A patent is not a dead end regarding the concept.


     

  • Reply 11 of 20

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DogGone View Post



    Sadly have to agree. Patents are becoming increasingly useless in the electronics industry.

    All a company needs to do is copy the tech and stonewall in court. The USPTO approves patents too easily and they are a cinch to overturn in court.

    The only guys that win are the lawyers. And they really don't need any more money.


     


     


    Why i love apple biz strategy, Apple uses NO shields against true competition.


    Any start up can go head to head against Apple. If a company tries to compete with Google, it will have to face the Android cartel.


    No fun!


     


    But The West which became the richest hemisphere on this planet, thanks to patents, turned its backs to true competition, thanks to Microsoft way of doing biz, licensing-galore, cartel style à la 7 sisters.


    It will be the West fall.

  • Reply 12 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,306member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ochyming View Post


     


     


    Why i love apple biz strategy, Apple uses NO shields against true competition.


    Any start up can go head to head against Apple. If a company tries to compete with Google, it will have to face the Android cartel.


    No fun!


     


    But The West which became the richest hemisphere on this planet, thanks to patents, turned its backs to true competition, thanks to Microsoft way of doing biz, licensing-galore, cartel style à la 7 sisters.


    It will be the West fall.



    Yup, Google has been very aggressive on the IP front. Which Google lawsuit against a competitor do you see as the most egregious?

  • Reply 13 of 20

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    Yup, Google has been very aggressive on the IP front. Which Google lawsuit against a competitor do you see as the most egregious?



     


     



    Am i talking about lawsuit or biz model/strategy?


     


    I will say it again:


     --- Licensing is against competition, it is an excuse for the lazy to have a ride.


    BTW courts are independent, no?

  • Reply 14 of 20
    ringoringo Posts: 328member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lightknight View Post


    INB4 Android fanboy whine

     



    Why would they do that? It's not like Android was doing this for a few years before Apple bought Siri.


     


    Oh wait, it did.

  • Reply 15 of 20


    Originally Posted by Ringo View Post

    Why would they do that? It's not like Android was doing this for a few years before Apple bought Siri.


     


    Oh wait, it did.



     


    Hey, it's an Android fanboy. Whining.


     


    Please explain how Siri = Android voice whatever, since it doesn't. Android's voice whatever has far more in common with iOS' old voice commands.

  • Reply 16 of 20
    ringoringo Posts: 328member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    Hey, it's an Android fanboy. Whining.


     


    Please explain how Siri = Android voice whatever, since it doesn't. Android's voice whatever has far more in common with iOS' old voice commands.



     


    This patent perfectly describes how the old android voice search worked. It used network-based voice recognition, and was released a year and a half before Siri.

  • Reply 17 of 20


    Originally Posted by Ringo View Post

    This patent perfectly describes how the old android voice search worked. It used network-based voice recognition, and was released a year and a half before Siri.


     


    Then someone will sue and it'll be invalidated. Until then, we can assume it's valid.

  • Reply 18 of 20
    ringoringo Posts: 328member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    Then someone will sue and it'll be invalidated. Until then, we can assume it's valid.



    Why assume a patent is valid when there's prior art? More importantly, why is someone pointing out that fact a whining Android fanboy?

  • Reply 19 of 20


    Originally Posted by Ringo View Post

    Why assume a patent is valid when there's prior art?


     


    Because Siri ? Android's voice commands.

  • Reply 20 of 20
    ringoringo Posts: 328member


    This isn't a patent on Siri, it's a patent on one of the techniques Siri uses - a technique that has clear prior art.

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