A recent patent application dug up by online source AppleInsider this week suggests that Apple is considering creating the ability for Siri to be paired with other electronic devices like MacBooks through a connection with a Siri-enabled iPhone. This type of pairing would grant the MacBook the ability to utilize Siri's voice control without Apple having to build a separate Siri interface for its OS X powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro mobile computers.
Siri is Processed and Handled Remotely
The patent application goes in to detail regarding how Siri is a remote application, powered via servers that can handle the incredible amount of computational power required to supply a high level of voice command functionality. As this processing technique is unlikely to change any time soon, it allows a Siri-enabled iPhone 4S to act as the “hub” for Siri requests from other devices.
For example, imagine having the ability to pair an Apple TV with an iPhone 4S to utilize Siri. As the Apple TV does not have a microphone or the ability to hear voice commands, one could speak the commands to Siri to have actions taken on the Apple TV. A user could sit down and simply by saying a few commands to Siri could have a movie or television show loaded on the Apple TV and a pizza ordered in a matter of seconds.
Any Device that can Pair with an iPhone Stands to Benefit
The patent doesn't specifically mention MacBook Pros or MacBook Airs as the sole target for pairing with a Siri-enabled iPhone. The application simply mentions “a remote device communicatively coupled to the electronic device running Siri”, which means that any device capable of pairing or connecting to an iPhone would potentially be able to make use of Siri. One example given in the patent application is a user training Siri to recognize the word “play” while simultaneously pressing the play button on the device that is paired with the iPhone. This would then allow Siri to tie voice commands to specific functions, potentially ushering in a future where many household appliances and electronic devices are controlled by voice.
iPhone's Persistent Data makes it a Prime Candidate for Siri Sharing
Another key benefit of using an iPhone as a “Siri Hub” is that the device has a persistent data connection, which many other devices are lacking. Granting a refrigerator or thermostat the ability to communicate and respond to Siri makes little sense unless powered through a device which will be able to send and receive the necessary data from Apple's Siri servers. As the average iPhone is connected to the internet 100% of the time, paired devices will always be able to reach out to Siri to have voice commands translated into their electronic language.
Is this something we will see as part of iOS 6 or the next generation of Apple's OS X operating system? With Siri still in a “beta” stage, connecting and pairing with other devices may be a long way off as of yet. However, the technology described in this patent application is another powerful feature that may help Apple reign supreme in the voice command technology arena.