Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Wins Approval For Key Voice Command Technology Patent

Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL) won approval for a patent for technology that is responsible for offloading voice commands with contextual information to an off-site computer for processing. It is believed to be one of the crucial features to allow the company’s Siri virtual assistant to work.

However, the invention is not specifically named is US patent No 8,296,383 for Electronic devices with voice command and contextual data processing capabilities, but it is indeed closely linked to how Siri works and powering the voice-recognizing assistant.

The appeal for the patent was first filed in 2008, well ahead of Apple purchasing Siri in 2010. The patent described a system and a method by which a portable gadget like the iPhone can record a voice command and consequent contextual information. The gadget then sends the information to an off-site server for processing. The server then responds to the voice command or sends back information to the handset allowing the device to carry out the command.

At that time, some of the iDevice products of Apple used on-board voice commands for operations like playing music, telling time and calling contacts. It was useful but at the same time, the system was restricted to certain operations due to processing power and storage needs that were essential to respond to advanced user commands.

With the arrival of fast data networks, Apple’s patent allows for more refined commands to be off-loaded from the device and executed somewhat in near real-time.

A crucial factor of the invention is contextual information, which is often referred to as metadata. For an instance, a user can perform an operation to search for more songs like the one that is currently playing by saying ‘Find more like this’.

It is not yet clear if 383 patent’s technology is being used as a foundation for Siri. However, the virtual assistant is known to work in much the same way. Apple recently filed a patent application for the features that power Siri, including the capability to be familiar with conversational input.

Shares of AAPl are trading lower by 1.10% ahead of much awaited event today.

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