Apple working on version of Siri to help you purchase products online


This week AppleInsider discovered a new patent application from Apple that demonstrates company's interest in expanding its Siri voice-assistant to help with online shopping. The current version of the service available exclusively on the iPhone 4S does not allow users to make online purchases. The voice-driven personal assistant software responds with "Sorry, I can't purchase that," when a user tries to complete transactions with online stores.

The patent application, entitled "Intelligent Automated Assistant," is a detailed look not only at what Siri can already do, but what it might be able to do in the future. And it specifically highlights e-commerce as a key function of its "Intelligent Automated Assistant." The application notes that Siri could be used for "online purchases of items such as books, DVDs, music and the like."

With e-commerce functionality added to Siri, a user could ask their iPhone to purchase a new song, album, TV episode or movie through Apple's iTunes Store. Similarly, transactions through the iBookstore or even the App Store could theoretically be initiated.

Apple also suggests that Siri could integrate with online retailers to make a purchase through a retailer like Best Buy and allow users to pick up their purchase at a nearby store. The patent application specifically names Amazon as a potential partner in such a system. The example has Siri telling a user: "I can help you find music, movies, books, electronics, toys, and more - and buy it from Amazon. What are you looking for?"

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