Yet another Apple patent filing has ignited the rumor mill. Instead of talking about smartwatches or TVs, this time the patent details a new accessory that would integrate Siri into homes with a so-called “smart dock.”

According to Apple Insider, the patent outlines a smart dock that will continuously listen for audio cues, and will, in turn, activate and respond with the Siri voice recognition function of connected devices. The patent filing covers the ability to “transmit a message to the portable electronic device via the connector to activate a voice-recognition-mode of the portable electronic device.” The patent doesn’t specifically name Apple products as the only devices that may connect to the dock.

In addition to having a speaker and microphone, the docking device will also feature a built-in display.

Grand Ambitions

The thought of an always-listening dock might not seem like something that could drastically change the way you interact with your devices, but the possibilities are vast. According to Apple Insider, the smart dock can be programmed to activate when prompted by a simple snap or whistle. Users can then talk to it in the same manner they talk to Siri.

Imagine you are making cookies and forget what temperature you need to preheat the oven. Instead of getting your flour-covered hands all over your iPad to look it up, you can simply whistle and ask Siri. With the dock’s built-in speaker function, you’ll have an answer in moments.

Integration With iCloud

The patent also suggests that the smart dock would be integrated with Apple’s iCloud function to let users modify content that is shared across many devices. For instance, if you have an appointment that you created from your phone using the Calendar app, you could change it with just a few voice commands.

Looking towards the future, this kind of iCloud integration could be used to support further home automation. The patent filing doesn’t specifically detail these features, but with the advent of “the Internet of things” it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for the dock to act as a hub for your home from which you could control a wide range of connected items, such as smart thermostats and security systems.

Support for Add-Ons

The smart dock will also support add-ons that may include things like a removable hard drive, GPS module, and even temperature sensors. These extra features lend credence to the possibility that Apple could create a home-based hub that uses the power of connected devices to extend the smartphone and tablet experience beyond simple screens.

Though the smart dock is not yet in development, it seems like something that is truly capable of transforming the current tech landscape and make Apple products a centerpiece of your home, instead of just your pocket or backpack.

Would you be interested in having a voice-activated device in your home?

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons



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