A newly filed Apple patent application has revealed the company harbours plans for a docking station designed to enable hands-free use of its devices via Siri.
More than just your average iPhone dock, Apple's 'smart dock' patent details a base unit boasting both a microphone and speaker that serves to wake the device up upon recognition of a voice command.
Apple users currently have to press the home button on their iPhone or iPad to activate Siri and this can prove inconvenient and cumbersome when their device is hooked into a docking station. Apple's proposed device seeks to eliminate these inconveniences by having a dock continually awaiting voice cues; potentially putting an end to mornings of bleary eyed fumbling for your iPhone or iPad, when attempting to get the mild mannered Siri to responds to your commands.
The 'smart dock' patent reveals that, as of yet, Apple remains unsure whether to include a screen, tacticle controls of a touch panel to allow its users to interact with the dock. While it is believed the device would come equipped with standard features such as a 24 hour clock and radio, both voice recognition and most of the heavy lifting would be performed by the user's iOS device.
Given the device would constantly be awaiting commands, Apple has proposed listening thresholds which will enable the dock to intelligently filter out and ignore irrelevant ambient noise, whilst still allowing for use via recognised audio cues from the user. And if users start to feel uneasy about the big brother-esque ears of their iOS device, the dock will also recognise specifically programmed voice commands that disable the 'smart dock' entirely.
As Apple is currently in talks with car manurfacturers over Siri's implementation within customer's vehicles, the company stands to gain considerable revenue should its 'smart dock' patent get given the go ahead by the US Trademark Office. Considering that the company first filed the patent in May 2012, with Jesse Dorogusker and Eric Wang credited as its inventors, it's evident that this proposed 'smart dock' has been a longstanding aim for the technology giant. There is currently no word on a potential release for the device.
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