Apple Patent Details 'Siri for Mac' Digital Assistant

As Apple continues to bridge the gap between their desktop platform, OS X, and their mobile operating system, iOS, it seems like a matter of time before more features bleed over between the two. In a new patent application published on Thursday, Apple apparently has plans to bring their digital personal assistant, Siri, over to the Mac in the future.

Like the current iteration of Siri, limited to iOS, Apple's desktop version is able to process natural speech and text input to perform actions like completing tasks, inputting and retrieving data, conducting searches and more. Further, the filing points out that commands are to be taken in context based on deduced user intent. In other words, Siri for desktop will use speech recognition to decipher and remembering contextual clues.

Once invoked, Apple says you could be shown an iconic representation of the digital assistant. For instance, an icon could appear in the dock or in a designated area of the desktop. A user could drag and drop one or more objects onto the iconic representation of the digital assistant to perform one or more user's specified tasks with respect to those objects. In some embodiments, the device allows the user to provide a natural language speech or text input to specify the task(s) to be performed with respect to the dropped objects.
Typically, the user request seeks either an informational answer or performance of a task by the digital assistant. A satisfactory response to the user request is either provision of the requested informational answer, performance of the requested task, or a combination of the two. For example, a user may ask the digital assistant a question, such as "Where am I right now?" Based on the user's current location, the digital assistant may answer, "You are in Central Park near the west gate." The user may also request the performance of a task, for example, "Please invite my friends to my girlfriend's birthday party next week." In response, the digital assistant may acknowledge the request by saying "Yes, right away," and then send a suitable calendar invite on behalf of the user to each of the user' friends listed in the user's electronic address book.
More than that, though, desktop Siri will be able to use speech recognition to remember certain contextual clues, to decipher them and use that information as needed.
 Driven in cooperation with an off-site server, Siri for Mac has an identical backend to Siri for iOS. The user-facing Siri asset can be integrated into a standalone app invoked by a special mouse or keyboard gesture, or may be tasked to run in the background, listening for a special activation phrase like the "Hey, Siri" implementation in Apple's forthcoming iOS 8.

Users will be able to tell Siri to perform specific tasks based on the location of the mouse’s cursor as well, as outlined by the patent application. Meaning, if you wish to have a piece of text copied, you can tell Siri for Mac to do so, and it will copy the text underneath your cursor. This is just one example, though.

During performance of a requested task, the digital assistant sometimes interacts with the user in a continuous dialogue involving multiple exchanges of information over an extended period of time. There are numerous other ways of interacting with a digital assistant to request information or performance of various tasks. In addition to providing verbal responses and taking programmed actions, the digital assistant also provides responses in other visual or audio forms, e.g., as text, alerts, music, videos, animations, etc. In some embodiments, the digital assistant also receives some inputs and commands based on the past and present interactions between the user and the user interfaces provided on the user device, the underlying operating system, and/or other applications executing on the user device.

[via AppleInsider; USPTO]


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