Siri on your MacBook Pro…and in your camera? New patent paves the way

new york man suing apple for misleading and deceptive siri ads adYour favorite disembodied virtual personal assistant, Siri, may be heading to your next MacBook Pro — or camera! — according to a recently filed Apple patent. The voice recognition software first introduced with much fanfare on the iPhone 4S, has since been the subject of increasing speculation, including an oft-cited rumor that the tech could replace or supplement the traditional remote control in an upcoming Apple television. What this new patent seems to indicate, however, is a promising future for Siri as part of a great ecosystem of devices, including cameras, notebooks, desktops, and yes, even televisions — all through the iPhone.

An internet of things

Because the technology behind Siri — algorithms that analyze natural phrases and speech patterns and convert that data into responses that make sense — requires tremendous amounts of processing power, Apple currently uses vast servers to do Siri’s voice recognition heavy lifting. You speak into your iPhone, and your voice is beamed to Apple’s servers, which analyze your speech and send instructions back to your iPhone — the very reason Siri never has an answer for you when you’re out of network range. Apple’s new patent draws on that relationship, allowing devices on the same wireless network to share those answers with each other. For instance: Walk into your house and tell your iPhone to turn on the TV and switch to channel 30. Better yet, you remember you forgot to record your favorite show as you are getting into bed — just pickup your iPhone and tell Siri to make it so! Pair your iPhone with your MacBook Pro and start dictating a document, or “open and display the contents of files stored on a computer,” as the filing describes. The patent even displays a camera in its diagram — meaning setting a timer for a self-portrait may soon be a thing of the past.

Although not explicitly mentioned in the patent, it isn’t hard to imagine Siri as the center of an “internet of things,” a term that has come to mean a network of interconnected low-tech devices or appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines, working together in concert. Imagine waking up in the morning and telling your iPhone to put on a cup of coffee. The future may not be far off.

siri on your macbook pro and in camera new patent paves the way 120329 1 542x500

Of course, there are always the practical implications: Voice control is an attractive idea in theory, until you’re seated next to someone on a bus repeatedly screaming into their iPhone — one realizes fairly quickly how far the technology still has to go, as well as the inherent limitations. Which is why Siri at the center of a personal electronics universe may make great sense — in the comfort of your home, who cares?

Still young

We should also remember that Siri is beta software, no matter how it’s currently marketed — meaning that Apple is still very much working the kinks out, a fact that anyone who has used the tech before is surely aware of. This might also help explain the conspicuous lack of true Siri integration in the new iPad. The good news is that because Siri is just software, it can be constantly improved on existing devices. Perhaps a future software update will introduce the sort of tech this patent describes; or maybe this one will be relegated to the patent archives, never to see the light of day. Is voice control the future, and could you get used to talking to your computer?

Home Theater

TV calibration 101: Here's how to tune up the picture on your new TV

You’ve got your new TV out of the box, but now what? Our TV picture adjustment guide takes you through the simple steps to get the best picture from your brand-new TV so you can set it and forget it.
Mobile

Here are our favorite wireless phone chargers for Android devices and iPhones

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.
Computing

How to protect your iCloud account

From Chinese hacking to identity theft, it's not surprising if you're a little worried about your iCloud data. Here's how to protect your iCloud account with a few simple security steps. It will only take a few minutes, and we'll walk you…
Cars

GPS units aren't dead! Our favorite models still do things your phone can't

Love hitting the open road but hate having to rely solely on your phone for getting around? Thankfully, the best in-car GPS systems will allow you to navigate and capitalize on a range of features sans your cellular network. Here are our…
Mobile

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

If you weren't already aware, USB-C is quickly becoming mainstream. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone.
Mobile

Upcoming iPad may lose a few millimeters, along with its headphone jack

The new iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and Apple Watch aren't the last devices we'll see from Apple in 2018. There are plenty of rumors about a new iPad coming this year too, and it may share some design similarities with the new phones.
Mobile

Preapproval for iPhone Upgrade Program now available for iPhone XR

Apple took the wraps off of its new set of iPhones, including the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and the new iPhone XR. The iPhone XR is being offered as the "affordable" iPhone, and it's a little different than the more expensive models.
Computing

Which is best: The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme or the 15-inch MacBook Pro?

To try and help nail down the best 15-inch laptops in the world, we compared the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme vs. MacBook Pro 15 in a head to head that looked at their power, design, and portability.
Mobile

Google Pixel 3 vs. Apple iPhone XS: Does Google’s A.I. take down Apple?

The Google Pixel 3 is here, boasting top-tier specs like a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and 4GB of RAM, and some of the world's best artificial intelligence features on a phone. But can it take out the Apple iPhone XS?
Mobile

Hinge's new feature wants to know who you've gone out on dates with

With its new "We Met" feature, Hinge wants to learn how your dates are going with matches in its app. That way, it can inject the information into its algorithm to provide future recommendations that better suit its users' preferences.
Mobile

Which Verizon plan is best for you? We check out family, individual, and prepaid

Verizon offers lots of plans for individuals, your family, and folks who want prepaid service. Here is everything you need to know about Verizon's plans, from data packages and smartphones to Big Red's prepaid plans.
Mobile

Safeguard your new Apple smartphone with one of our favorite iPhone XS cases

If the iPhone XS is your next phone, then you’ll want to shop for some proper protection now. That glass sandwich design is all too easy to scratch or crack, so make sure you snag one of the best iPhone XS cases to keep it looking good.
Gaming

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.
Photography

Adobe Premiere Rush CC is the cloud-based video editing app you've been waiting for

On stage at Adobe MAX 2018, Adobe announced its cloud-centric, social video-editing application, Adobe Premiere Rush CC. We took some time to put it through its paces to see what it offers, how it works, and what's missing.