On October 9, 2008, the US Patent & Trademark Office published an Apple patent application relating to voice activation technology that is being developed for the iPod, iPhone and Apple TV. The patent notes that the voice activation system could be robust and context sensitive. The voice activation can also be utilized without any preparatory user action with respect to the portable electronic device. The patent presents examples of voice commands relating to music, business meetings or calendar events, iPhone camera controls, various voicemail commands and more.
Voice-to-Command Analyzer and Macro Manager
Apple's patent FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an iPhone which is presented here as device 200. Device 200 isn't limited to being an iPhone however and could be an iPod, iPod touch, a portable gaming player, portable workout manager and the like, according to the patent.
The point of FIG.2 is to illustrate that the iPhone and/or device 200, could be controlled by voice control or command. In this regard, device 200 includes voice-to-command analyzer 216. Voice-to-command analyzer 216 operates to receive an audio input from a user via a microphone, shown here as box 218. The Voice-to-command analyzer can then analyze the audio input to determine whether it is requesting execution of a particular one of a set of predetermined commands or a particular one of a set of predetermined macros.
As illustrated in FIG. 2, device 200 can also include data store 220. The data store could store a plurality of commands or macros as well as other data. These commands or macros are eligible to be executed by device 200 when requested by a voice input. Similarly, voice-to-command analyzer 216 can determine whether the voice input corresponds to a macro from a set of available macros stored in data store. The macros can be considered groups or sets of commands which are arranged in a particular sequence. A macro manager can couple to the voice-to-command analyzer so that when the voice input corresponds to a macro, the macro manager can manage the performance of the macro, which involves a plurality of commands operated in a particular sequence.
Three Voice Command Examples
As still another example, the user could provide an audio input, namely, a voice command, by announcing one of the menu items of the menu 700 (or perhaps even a nested menu) which could affect a selection of such item. For example, the menu items could be categories, classifications, groupings, media items, device settings, device functions, and the like. The menu 700 can represent one menu of a series of nested or hierarchical menus, which can also be navigated or traversed by voice commands.
Exemplary iPhone Graphical User Interfaces
Voicemail Commands: Apple's patent FIG. 8D illustrates exemplary GUI 830 for playing of a voicemail. GUI 830 is a representative display screen for playing voicemail at the electronic device. In particular, lower portion 834 indicates that the available voice commands can include "Delete voicemail", "Forward to [contact]", "Text reply [Msg]". The text reply command can specify to send a reply text message to another person known to the electronic device or another device. For example, the spoken phrase could be "Text reply meet you at noon for lunch," which causes a text message "meet you at noon for lunch" to be sent to Jim, who is the sender of the message being replied to.
Voice Commands for Apple TV
Apple's patent FIG. 9E is a block diagram of local environment 950 according to one embodiment of the invention. Local environment 950 can pertain to an automobile environment, a home environment, an office environment or other relatively constrained local environment. Within local environment 950, portable electronic device 952 can interact with media system 954. Media system 954 can pertain to a television system, a home stereo, a personal computer, and the like. Media system 954 can also be referred to as a home entertainment system. Accessory device 956 can also be provided in local environment 950. Portable electronic device 952 can include microphone 958 and speaker 960. Speaker 960 can be used to output audio sound (audio output) to the user. For example, the audio output can pertain to a voice call or media output. Microphone 958 can be utilized to pick up voice commands that are used by portable electronic device 950 or media system 954. Accessory device 956 can also include microphone 962 to pick up voice commands. Such voice commands can be supplied to media system 954 which, in turn, can supply them to portable electronic device 952, or the voice commands can be directly provided from accessory device 956 to portable electronic device 952. Accessory device 956 can also include wireless module 964. Wireless module 964 can permit accessory device 956 to wirelessly communicate to wireless headset 966. The wireless protocol being utilized between wireless headset 966 and wireless module 964 can pertain to Bluetooth technology or other short range wireless technology. Headset 966 can receive and/or output audio from/to media system 954 or portable electronic device 952. Accessory device 956 could also include a speaker (not shown) to provide audio output.
One of the inventors of today's patent 20080248797 is Dan Freeman, Manager of Audio Hardware Department at Apple Inc.
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