A patent application published Thursday by the US Patent and Trademark Office hints to the possibility of Apple’s iOS digital assistant called Siri finding a new home on Mac computers. Only available on Apple’s iOS devices currently, Siri has the potential to enhance future releases of the Apple computer operating systems (OS) by adding voice options for a number of functions.
This new to Mac OS feature could allow users to simply talk to the computer to tell, or ask, Siri to perform actions without requiring keystrokes or and other hands-on actions. The ability to tell Siri to run iTunes, add to iCal, Apple’s calendar program, call up contact information could be a welcome feature, and the options are endless.
Siri has been a part of Apple’s mobile iOS platform since 2011 and while the digital assistant was widely accepted and users seemed to love the feature, the honeymoon wore off quickly. Many users ended up disappointed that Siri seemed to respond better to silly questions or finding information on Wikipedia or Google. However, over the years of service, Siri got better at the assistant job, with the help of improvements from Apple, the application has become much more usable.
Wile Apple could be getting ready to bring Siri to Mac, Microsoft has begun using the Cupertino, California digital assistant to show off the Redmond, Washington-based company’s own digital assistant, Cortana. Cortana is touted in a recent add campaign as being able to perform many more useful tasks than Siri. Consumers that are used to these marketing campaigns anticipate that Apple will respond in some way to the Microsoft ads.
The patent reveals that Siri on the Mac would allow users to use voice commands to request opening an application or complete a task. Like the iOS version, the Mac Siri would communicate with an Apple server to translate the received voice commands to determine the correct response, whether it be to open an application, read an email or message, or any number of possible responses.
Apple plans on Siri on the Mac to be much more useful than the iOS version. With the extra processors in the full-sized computers, Siri could have the power to insert images into documents, manage file folders, and even tackle more complex functions with the additional memory and computing power available on Macs. Siri has the potential to turn Apple’s OS into a fully voice controlled computing system.
The possibility that Apple could add Siri to the new Yosemite OS is there, although, it may not be fully ready and still in development for a later release down the road. Many computer and software companies, Apple included, file for patents and never follow through. At times, a patent filing could be to push competitors into rushing into the development of an answer to a question never asked. With the idea out there that Apple might bring Siri to their computers, Microsoft would likely start formulating their own version to beat the Mac maker to the punch. Apple, anticipating this move, could then sit back and perfect Siri for the Mac so it could potentially blow away the rushed application from their competitor. At this time, there is no plan on adding Siri to Yosemite for release this fall, however, that could always change.
By Carl Auer