This Apple patent could reinvent Siri as you now know it

Apple is working on what would be a significant and perhaps necessary overhaul for its Siri platform.

According to a patent application unearthed this week, the company is teaching Siri to respond only to the voice of her master.

The approach, detailed by Patently Apple (via 9to5Mac), would involve teaching the personal assistant to recognise the device owner’s voice during set-up.

It would also enable users to customise a wake word to replace Hey Siri, adding an additional level of security.

Related: iOS 11

According to the patent, if Siri can’t identify users via their voice and the wake phrase, they’ll then be asked for the TouchID or passcode in order to verify.

Currently Siri will respond to just about anyone whether the device is locked or unlocked.

So, if you leave you phone unattended, it’s still possible for unauthorised parties to access some of the functionality by pressing the home button or using the “Hey Siri” command, if enabled.

The patent was initially filed around this time last year, so it’s possible that Apple might be prepared to integrate this within iOS 11 and the next versions of tvOS, watchOS and macOS.

Indeed, voice biometrics are certainly an untapped area for personal assistants like Siri, Alexa and Cortana.

A voice signature isn’t as unique or secure as a fingerprint or an iris scanner, so the implementation will doubtless be tricky.

Can Apple be first to the punch? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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