In patent documents released this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple reveals plans to improve voice control on its iOS devices using contextually defined commands selected by users.
Apple purchased the iOS "personal assistant" app maker Siri earlier this year, suggesting it had plans to beef up the voice control functionality in iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. The patent seems to take aspects of the Siri interface and apply them to individually selected apps on a user's device.
AppleInsider discovered the patent filing, originally filed last year and titled "Contextual Voice Commands":
"By using contextual voice commands, a user can execute desired operations faster than by navigating through a set of nested menu items," the filing reads. "Also, contextual voice commands can be used to teach the device to accurately predict the intent of the user from a single voice command. Further, contextual voice commands can be used to vary the manner in which the user provides the voice input based on the context of the device being used."
Apple also notes that a developer API for voice control would greatly expand the ability of particular Apps to be controlled while in the App, instead of specific commands that are system-wide. Applications in the universal access areas of iOS devices would be greatly improved as well.
Which would be better, system-wide voice commands or application-specific commands? Let me know in the comments.