Apple files for patents on AirPlay Mirroring, Siri

The company's applications describe the basics on how the two crucial features work.

Apple has once again hit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with some patent applications.

First up is AirPlay Mirroring: Called "Gesture visualization and sharing between electronic devices and remote displays," the patent application describes a method by which onscreen information is sent wirelessly to another display. Apple's patent application, which was first discovered by Patently Apple, assumes that the first device, which will send the onscreen visuals to the second display, comes with a touch screen, seemingly limiting the patented technology to its iPhone or iPad.

"Size and resource limitations may prevent users of portable electronic devices from effectively sharing media on the portable electronic devices," Apple writes in the application. "For example, the display screen on a tablet computer may be too small to be used in a presentation to a large group of people. Instead, the user of the tablet computer may conduct the presentation by driving a large remote display using a screen-sharing application on the tablet computer.

"Hence, what is needed is a mechanism for facilitating the sharing of media from a portable electronic device," Apple argues.

Here's how Apple describes the technology:

A computer-implemented method for interacting with a remote display, comprising: obtaining graphical output for a display of the electronic device; obtaining a first set of touch inputs associated with the graphical output from a touch screen associated with the electronic device; and transmitting the graphical output and the first set of touch inputs to the remote display, wherein the graphical output and a visual representation of the first set of touch inputs are used to drive the remote display.

AirPlay Mirroring has quickly caught on in the corporate world. With the feature, users can show their iPhone or iPad screen on an HDTV through the Apple TV. In addition, the feature was made available on OS X Mountain Lion , allowing users to share their Mac screen on an HDTV. Once again, that feature requires an Apple TV to work.

Another important Apple feature, Siri, has also found its way onto the USPTO site today. That patent application,"Using context information to facilitate processing of commands in a virtual assistant," aims at delving into context. According to the application, which was also discovered by Patently Apple, using context clues in voice-recognition technology "helps to clarify the user's intent and to reduce the number of candidate interpretations of the user's input, and reduces the need for the user to provide excessive clarification input."

This latest application has been published just a few weeks after the USPTO outed Apple's initial Siri patent application . That technology describes the basics on how Siri works and how it accepts conversational inputs from users to deliver results.

The application today adds far more detail by leveraging the use of search, databases, dialog history, and much more.

"For example, if input from the user includes a pronoun (such as "her" in the command "call her") the virtual assistant can use context to infer the referent of the pronoun, for example to ascertain the identity of the person to be called and/or the telephone number to use," Apple notes in its application.

Like other companies, Apple files patents all of the time. In many cases, those patents describe technologies that are not currently available. Today's application roundup is quite the opposite, making it clear that sometimes technologies described in patents do eventually come out.

 

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