Siri may come to Mac OS X, an Apple patent suggests

Going on the basis of a job posting on Apple’s site at the start of last year, the tech powerhouse has been working on launching Siri for desktop for some considerable time.

The latest indication that Apple is looking to bring its voice-activated digital assistant to OS X came on Thursday with the publication of a patent application by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

‘Intelligent digital assistant’

Titled “Intelligent digital assistant in a desktop environment,” the 92-page document, which was filed earlier this year, goes into great detail about how Apple may one day give OS X users the chance to talk to their machines to find out information or perform a range of tasks.

Siri is currently limited to Apple’s mobile devices, while Mac computers feature only a dictation tool when it comes to built-in voice-based functionality.

Related: Our Siri guide – how to merge your life with Apple’s witty virtual assistant

The filing, while not identifying Siri by name, describes how the desktop-based digital assistant could exist as an app and be activated either by a voice command (possibly “Hey, Siri,” which is coming soon with the launch of iOS 8) or via a specific keyboard or mouse gesture.

‘Third hand’

As noted by Apple Insider, which first noticed the publication of the patent, one of more intriguing bits of information in the document mentions using the digital assistant as a “third hand.” It describes how a voice-activated assistant could be used to perform tasks during a work session where the user has many applications running at once. In this way, the user could issue voice commands to carry out tasks on programs running in the background to pull up information or content for the program running in the foreground.

By way of example, the document includes a diagram (below) of a text editor in use. To the left of it are suggested images from a Web search performed in the background following an instruction given to Siri to search for those images.

apple siri for mac patent filing

The patent also describes how a Mac user could employ Siri to manage the desktop, including, for example, organizing folders and moving files around.

Besides some of the extra features listed in the patent, the app would likely perform much in the same way as the iOS version.

In many ways, the biggest surprise about Siri and OS X is that it’s taking so long for the two to combine. In fact, despite the publication of the patent filing, we’re none the wiser about the Cupertino company’s rollout plans for a desktop-based Siri, after all, there’s no reference to it in Yosemite, the next version of Apple’s desktop OS coming this fall.

The question is, do you think you’d be likely to use Siri for Mac? Sound off in the comments below.

Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.
Mobile

Wring the most out of iOS with the best commands for Siri

You may not know all the things you can say to Siri -- after all, Apple never released an official list of commands for its virtual assistant. Thankfully, we've compiled a list of the best Siri commands to help you out.
Deals

Looking for a Chromebook? The Google PixelBook just got a $200 price cut

Once relatively obscure, Chromebooks have come into their own in a big way in recent years. One of our favorites is the super-sleek Google Pixelbook, and it's on sale right now from Amazon for $200 off, letting you score this premium laptop…
Home Theater

Smart speakers are about to get an IQ bump thanks to new Qualcomm chips

Qualcomm announced a new chipset that is designed to make the next generation of smart speakers sound, listen, and connect better than ever before, and it could soon be in your living room.
Computing

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.
Computing

Get the new Dell XPS 13 for $750 with this limited-time deal

Dell is currently running a limited time deal lasting through Thursday, March 28, where you can bring home a version of this year's new XPS 13 for around $750 with the use of a special coupon code. 
Computing

Nvidia faces attacks from AMD, Intel, and even Google. Should it be worried?

Nvidia announced an expanded array of RTX server solutions designed to leverage the power of ray-tracing at GTC 2019. The effort will help Nvidia take on Google's Stadia in game streaming with GeForce Now, and the company's investments in…
Mobile

This is the easiest way to save your iPhone data to your computer

Living in fear of losing your contacts, photos, messages, and notes on your iPhone? Fear no more -- in this guide, we'll break down exactly how to back up your iPhone to your computer using Apple's iTunes or to the cloud with iCloud.
Mobile

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.
Computing

Microsoft’s Clippy came back from the dead, but didn’t last very long

Before Cortana, Alexa, and Siri even existed, Microsoft Clippy dominated the screens of computers in the 1990s to help assist Microsoft Office users when writing letters. He recently made a bit of a comeback only to die off again.
Computing

How 5G networks will make low-latency game streaming a reality

Faster speeds and more bandwidth are some of the many promises that 5G can deliver, but for gamers, the most important thing is low latency. To achieve low latency, carriers like AT&T and Verizon are exploring hybrid models for game…
Deals

Time to do taxes? Save up to 50 percent on H&R Block tax software this weekend

Tax season is stressful, and with new tax laws in effect this year, it's not a bad idea to get some help. H&R Block has you covered: For two days only, you can save 50 percent on its great software so you can file your taxes online and save…
Computing

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.
Computing

Breeze through security with these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags

Getting through airport security is a drag, but your laptop bag shouldn’t be. Thankfully, these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags will get you and your gear to your destination with ease.