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?

Mobile

Microsoft Outlook for iOS gets big redesign, with Dark Mode coming soon

Microsoft has deployed a huge redesign for its Outlook for iOS app, which includes new blue branding and some quality-of-life improvements. Dark Mode isn't included, but it's coming soon.
Computing

5 reasons your Macbook keeps restarting and how to fix the issue

It can be frustrating when your Apple MacBook keeps restarting, but this serious problem can be fixed! We'll go over the common causes for this issue, what you can do to fix them, and why it's okay to take your Mac to a pro!
Computing

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.
Computing

Calibrate your display to get it looking just the way you like it

Want to see images the way they're intended to be seen? Here is our quick guide on how to calibrate your monitor using your operating system or another tool, to make what's on the screen look as good as it can.
Computing

These are the 5 best free antivirus apps to protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as choosing from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.
Deals

The best iPad deals for December 2018

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for December 2018.
Music

Apple Music may sign up more exclusive artists with purchase of Platoon

Apple purchased London-based Platoon, which is a startup that helps independent musicians get discovered by major labels. The acquisition may help Apple Music sign up more exclusive artists.
Deals

The best Apple Watch deals for December 2018

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Deals

The best iPhone deals for December 2018

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for December 2018.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Beddit Sleep Monitor 3.5 now available on the Apple Store

The Beddit Sleep Monitor 3.5 is now available on the Apple Store for $150. The sensor strip, which is only 2 millimeters thin, automatically tracks a wide array of sleep data when placed under the user's sheets.
Deals

Save up to $750 with the best smartphone deals for December 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $750.
Deals

Pick up a pair of Apple AirPods alternatives for less than $50

Apple AirPods are some of the most sought-after wireless earbuds, but they certainly aren't cheap. Luckily, Walmart and Amazon both have some great Apple AirPod alternatives for sale, and you can still get them before Christmas.
Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.