Patent published on September 19, 2023

Apple's New Patent: Siri Could Soon Help Devices Cooperate More

It's often the little problems that nag us most frequently – having to repeat a command to every gadget in a room, for instance. But that minor annoyance might soon become a thing of the past thanks to a pioneering new patent from Apple under the title 'Digital assistant hardware abstraction', patent number US11765209B2.

The patent, in plain English, is like a mastermind that enables digital assistants on various devices to work together efficiently. It seeks to address the issue we've all faced; you command Siri on your iPhone to perform a task, but your iPad and Mac remain oblivious to your request, potentially leading to confusion and frustration.

But what if there could be the digital equivalent of a class monitor? Instead of having to tell each 'classmate' – in this case, a device – what to do separately, you simply tell the 'monitor', which then delegates the task to the right 'classmate' or multiple 'classmates' in the room, depending on who is best suited to complete the assignment.

Apple's new patent is precisely about this. It introduces a concept where if you ask one device to do a task, it can process your request and inform other devices to help complete the given assignment, ensuring a seamless user experience. The objective is to avoid multiple devices providing a response to the same user voice input at different times, which can sometimes be a little disconcerting to the user.

But the question for the ever-curious reader is - How would this change my day-to-day life? Let's paint a picture. Suppose you're back from a long day at work, and you want to unwind with some music and a smartly lit ambiance. Instead of having to command Siri on your iPhone to play Miles Davis, and Alexa on your Echo device to dim the lights, imagine making just one command: "Hey Siri, I'm home and I'd like to relax." Your phone, at that point, would communicate to the rest of your devices. The lights dim, the temperature drops a touch, and the cool notes of a jazz classic fill your living room.

It's essential to reiterate that what we discuss today is a patent. Having a patent doesn't necessarily guarantee that what's outlined will translate into a real-world product. But if it does become a reality, this invention could truly elevate the concept of a 'smart' home to new heights.

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