Apple works on improved contextual voice commands in its devices


This week the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office made public another Apple's patent application that describes the new voice control method. It is entitled "Contextual Voice Commands" and its aim is to make voice control more efficient and reliable.

Apple's proposed system determines the voice command possibilities for every application so that you could give more precise directions by voice to the device.

"By using contextual voice commands, a user can execute desired operations faster than by navigating through a set of nested menu items. Also, contextual voice commands can be used to teach the device to accurately predict the intent of the user from a single voice command. Further, contextual voice commands can be used to vary the manner in which the user provides the voice input based on the context of the device being used."


When user selects a particular application, he narrows the potential voice commands, which makes iPhone (or any other similar device) less likely to be "confused".

"Contextual voice commands can be more precise than conventional voice commands that merely control the device as a whole. For example, different context specific voice commands can be implemented based on user activity or application in use."

With this method Apple may allow third-party applications to execute voice commands too. This can be possible with a special application programming interface related to a contextual voice command module.

The patent application also reveals that contextual voice commands can be used not only with iPhone or other touchscreen devices, but also with Mac and any other traditional computer. In this case user will need to select a program with a mouse cursor.

Apple's method would allow user to be notified of the selected application or available commands. For instance, operations like "reply, compose, read, save, forward, search, copy, paste" and others could be read aloud to the user or displayed on the screen of an opened e-mail application.


The application is credited to Scott Herz, Gregory Novick and Marcel Van Os. If was filed in June, 2009.

Apple has already been paying attention to voice commands for a while. Earlier this year the company had acquired Siri, which is a maker of a personal assistant application for the iPhone. This application can accomplish different tasks like buying tickets to a movie or making reservations at a restaurant by relying on voice commands that are provided in informal or "natural" English. That means that you can ask the app "What's happening next week around here?" and it will answer you with providing local events. The app will also understand you if you'll ask "How about in Chicago?"

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Written by SimplyMax

Friday, December 10, 2010. 16:27

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