Apple patent application details improved, contextual voice commands for iPhone

ZAGG Deal!“Apple could improve voice commands on the iPhone by making them contextualized, asking users to select, by hand, an application before dictating commands aloud,” Neil Hughes reports for AppleInsider.

“The new voice control method is described in a patent application from Apple made public this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,” Hughes reports. “Discovered by AppleInsider, the patent entitled ‘Contextual Voice Commands’ aims to make voice control of a device more reliable and efficient.”

Hughes reports, “Relying on a combination of quick physical inputs as well as voice commands, Apple’s proposed system would allow for contextual input on an application-by-application basis. This would narrow the voice command possibilities in any given application, as opposed to a system-wide method that has a large number of options.”

Read more in the full article, which includes Apple’s patent app diagrams, here.


  1. I worked on IVR system (interactive voice response) long ago. Having a limited/different vocabulary set for recognition in different scenarios was a common practice.

    I mean, that’s common sense, plain and simple!!!

    Amazing that they try to get a patent on that!!!!!

    I thought patents was to protect intellectual property that takes _real_ effort to generate.

  2. Put it this way, if Apple doesn’t patent even the most ordinary minute thing in each of their current and future products or every method that’s taken for granted as “common sense”, someone else will and then sue Apple.
    Amazon has patented One Click, what more do you need? Guess anyone can patent most anything.

  3. I agree with cigborj that this seems like common sense and probably shouldn’t be “patent-able”. Plus this already exists to some extent – look at the Google Mobile App.

    Another point is that if you have to select an app, it diminishes the usefulness of voice commands.

  4. Well, I DON’T agree with cigborj. Patent procedures are not to protect things that take “real effort”. They are to protect original ideas (after they’ve gone further than just a thought) no matter how much effort was involved.

    Just because there’s a news report, doesn’t mean it tells us the whole story. Who knows what else (technical, of no interest to laymen news readers) is in Apple’s application.

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