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New patent suggests multiuser support could one day come to Siri

According to a patent first revealed by Apple Insider, Apple may be working on adding multiuser support to Siri, which is something that iOS has lacked for some time. The patent reveals ways in which Siri could identify specific users by matching their speech to a preregistered profile. The details of how this might work aren’t completely clear, but the patent specifically mentions “voice print” and “biometric information.”

Regardless of how Apple implements this feature, there are many potential benefits from multiuser support both in terms of convenience and privacy. Multiuser support would allow Siri to provide custom information and responses to various users based on past actions, sort of like the suggested content you see on iTunes or Netflix.

The patent suggests that the new-and-improved Siri may be able to use past user interactions to create a library of information for each specific user. Obviously, past voice commands would be a major part of this, but it is also possible that Apple could make use of a user’s favorite apps or other information to help improve Siri.

In short, multiuser support could go a long way toward improving Apple’s digital assistant. Unfortunately for Apple fans, Apple’s digital assistant has lagged behind Google and Amazon’s offerings in terms of accuracy. This is a bit disappointing considering that, for a time, Siri was one of the world’s most well-known digital assistants.

The other major benefit that could come from multiuser support is in the arena of privacy. Multiuser support could, for example, bar Siri from reading a user’s text messages without the authorization of the specific users. This isn’t a major issue on smartphones since they tend to be locked and used by a single person. However, shared devices such as Apple’s Home Pod do run into some problems when any authorized user can have the owner’s texts read out loud.

Of course, all we have right now is a patent, which does not mean Apple is actively working on this software. Companies often file patents for various technologies and products even if they have no intention of using them, so it remains to be seen if this one will ever see the light of day.

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Eric Brackett
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