As Apple continues to bridge the gap between their desktop platform, OS X, and their mobile operating system, iOS, it seems like a matter of time before more features bleed over between the two. In a new patent application published on Thursday, Apple apparently has plans to bring their digital personal assistant, Siri, over to the Mac in the future.
The patent application was filed on Thursday, August 7, and was caught and published by AppleInsider. This particular patent application is quite extensive, coming in with a total of 92 pages, and outlines an “intelligent digital assistant in a desktop environment.” As pointed out, this seems to point to a “Siri for Mac” situation, and goes well beyond the current implementation of Apple’s voice dictation feature currently available on Macs.
As one can imagine, the patent application details plenty of specific attributes of the feature, including the ability to process natural language and text input to complete specific actions. That means you’ll be able to complete a search just by asking the digital personal assistant, Siri, whatever you want to ask. You’ll also be able to retrieve or input data, as well as complete some tasks, all by corresponding with Siri. Just like on iOS.
More than that, though, desktop Siri will be able to use speech recognition to remember certain contextual clues, to decipher them and use that information as needed.
The similarities between Desktop Siri and Mobile Siri don’t end at the user level, though, as the patent application outlines that the back-end for Siri on a Mac would function with the cooperation of an off-site server, just like Siri for iOS does. This new feature will be a standalone app, accessible with a simple click or even a gesture on the Mac’s trackpad. Or, the app can be turned on in the background, and the user could activate it with a simple voice command. We’ve seen this functionality with Siri already, thanks to the, “Hey, Siri” voice activation coming to the app in iOS 8 later this year.
Users will be able to tell Siri to perform specific tasks based on the location of the mouse’s cursor as well, as outlined by the patent application. Meaning, if you wish to have a piece of text copied, you can tell Siri for Mac to do so, and it will copy the text underneath your cursor. This is just one example, though.
Perhaps more interestingly, though, is the patent application’s highlight of Siri for Mac’s ability to parse information, and even sort dates for files and folders dropped into the icon. Meaning, if you have a folder filled with images that you want to have sorted by date, you can drag and drop the particular folder into the Siri/digital personal assistant icon, and tell the app to “sort by date.” It will take care of the rest.
For many users, using the new Siri for Mac feature for multitasking could come in handy. The patent application outlines how a user can call upon the digital personal assistant to pull something up for quick access, so that the user doesn’t have to stop doing what they’re doing. For example, if you were typing a document, and needed to look at a picture or website, you could tell Siri to do that, without having to stop whatever you may be working on.
This type of functionality is a longtime coming for Macs, considering Siri has been available in iOS since 2011 (albeit as a public beta for some of that time). With this patent application, which was first filed in 2013 by Julian K. Missig, Jeffrey Traer Bernstein, Avi. E. Cieplinski, May-Li Khoe, David J. Hart, Bianca C. Costanzo, Nicholas Zambetti, and Matthew I. Brown as inventors, is obviously the first step in making this a reality. The question remains though: How long until we actually see it implemented?
Would you use Siri for Mac?