The USPTO, today, published an Apple patent application that describes a “Smart Dock” which can connect to an iPhone or an iPad, and activate Siri if you say certain keywords.
According to the patent description, the Smart Dock will have many components, including a housing, connector, microphone, speakers, and a touch screen. The dock will have functions like clock and alarm built-in, but would depend on an iPhone or iPad for the most important function — Siri.
Apple’s Smart Dock will listen to certain user-defined keywords, that would activate its voice recognition mode. Once activated, the dock forwards all commands to the paired device, which finally executes them. During the period it’s activated, the dock would reduce ambient noise so as to make the voice recognition as flawless as possible:
When the voice recognition mode of the portable electronic device is activated, the processor of the portable electronic device is further configured to receive voice input from the dock via the receptacle connector, the voice input including a use request. The processor retrieves the requested information and generates audio output including a response to the user request. The audio output is transmitted by the processor to the dock via the receptacle connector.
In further claims, Apple says that the dock could have add-ons like a detachable hard disk, accelerometer or temperature sensors, a GPS and more. The patent also says that the dock could communicate with devices wirelessly, becoming a wireless AirPlay/Bluetooth speaker as well.
Currently, Apple sells a docks for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c for $29 each, but they don’t have many features apart from a Lightning connector and an audio line out.
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