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Siri for Mac features outlined in new patent

Apple has outlined how Siri for Mac features could work in an extensive patent application published by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

A recently unearthed patent filed with USPTO details Apple’s ideas for an “Intelligent digital assistant in a desktop environment”, which is very much a Siri for Mac functionality.

Using the microphone built into Mac desktop and laptops, Siri for Mac could take the current voice dictation feature to an all new, more functional level.

The patent outlines that the Mac version of Siri would be able to process actions like data input and retrieval, carry out computer searches and other basic tasks from voice commands.

As with the iOS edition, the desktop Siri can be integrated into apps and activated by a special mouse or keyboard gesture. It can also work in the background, constantly listening for a command.

You’ll be able to say “Hey, Siri” to alert the voice assistant you need her help with iOS 8, and it looks like Apple has its eyes on this functionality for Macs too.

In some versions of Siri for Mac, the microphone-style icon sits in the dock, while at other times it is just hidden in the backend of your desktop or laptop, allowing you to start dictations at any time.

One of the more advanced features of Siri for Mac would let you drop documents or folders full of images for example onto the Siri dock icon. You could then ask it to sort by date or location or other criteria.

Apparently you could then go on to ask another action be carried out, which Siri would then do or list all the alternative options in voice or text form according to your preferences.

Siri for Mac could also act as an additional mouse cursor, helping you apply context to voice commands. For example, you could say “Sort these by date and merge into a new document”, which Siri would then apply to a specific set of images.

Apple patent then goes on to describe a function which it calls “Using Digital Assistant as a Third Hand”. Currently, multitasking on graphic UIs are usually mainly restricted to one window or asset at a time.

The idea outlined by the patent is that Siri could do anything that you couldn’t, whether that’s creating folders while you’re holding a selection of files, asking Siri to resize pictures or other functions.

Currently Apple’s personal voice assistant is limited to its iOS devices and there’s no indication this could be a feature coming to OS X 10.10 Yosemite either.

Read more: Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite: What’s new?


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