In September Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple and Salesforce are working with Marriott International to bring HomePods to Hotel Rooms to Assist Guests with Services." The next day Apple launched macOS High Sierra, a version of macOS that advanced the number of tasks that Siri could perform.
While Siri is now able to perform more on your Mac, a new patent today shows us that more business tasks are on tap for future macOS updates and/or the next version of macOS. More importantly, Siri will be programmed / trained to multitask in the future.
Apple notes that some existing techniques for assisting the user to perform a task in a multi-tasking environment may include, for example, dictation. Typically, a user may be required to manually perform many other tasks in a multi-tasking environment.
As an example, a user may have been working on a presentation yesterday on their desktop computer and may wish to continue to work on the presentation. The user is typically required to manually locate the presentation on their desktop computer, open the presentation, and continue the editing of the presentation.
As another example, a user may have been booking a flight on their smartphone when the user is away from his desktop computer. The user may wish to continue booking the flight when the desktop computer is available. In existing technologies, the user needs to launch a web browser and start over on the flight booking process at the user's desktop computer. In other words, the prior flight booking progress that the user made at the smartphone may not be continued at the user's desktop computer.
As another example, a user may be editing a document on his or her desktop computer and wish to change a system configuration such as changing the brightness level of the screen, turning on Bluetooth connections, or the like. In existing technologies, the user may need to stop editing the document, find and launch the brightness configuration application, and manually change the settings. In a multi-tasking environment, some existing technologies are incapable of performing tasks as described in the above examples based on a user's speech input. Providing a voice-enabled digital assistant in a multi-tasking environment is thus desired and advantageous.
Techniques for providing a digital assistant in a multi-tasking environment are desired for various purposes such as reducing the cumbersomeness of searching objects or information, enabling efficient object management, maintaining continuity between tasks performed at the user device and at another electronic device, and reducing the user's manual effort in adjusting system configurations.
Such techniques are advantageous by allowing the user to operate a digital assistant to perform various tasks using speech inputs in a multi-tasking environment. Further, such techniques alleviate the cumbersomeness or inconvenience associated with performing various tasks in a multi-tasking environment.
Furthermore, by allowing the user to perform tasks using speech, they are able to keep both hands on the keyboard or mouse while performing tasking that would require a context switch--effectively, allowing the digital assistant to perform tasks as if a "third-hand" of the user.
As will be appreciated, by allowing the user to perform tasks using speech it allows the user to more efficiently complete tasks that may require multiple interactions with multiple applications.
For example, searching for images and sending them to an individual in an email may require opening a search interface, entering search terms, selecting one or more results, opening am email for composition, copying or moving the resulting files to the open email, addressing the email and sending it. Such a task can be completed more efficiently by voice with a command such as "find pictures from X date and send them to my wife". Similar requests for moving files, searching for information on the internet, composing messages can all be made more efficient using voice, while simultaneously allowing the user to perform other tasks using their hands.
Below is a list of random patent figures taken from today's patent application titled "Intelligent Digital Assistant in a Multi-Tasking Environment."
Apple's patent application 20180308485 was filed back in Q2 2018. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Two of the inventors of this invention include: Aram Kudurshian, Senior Producer, iOS and macOS, Human Interface; and Caroline (Furches) Cranfill, Human Interface Design Manager. In her 12.5 year at Apple, Cranfill worked on OS X, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV.
Patently Apple presents a detailed summary of patent applications and/or granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application should be read in its entirety for full and accurate details.