updated 10:10 am EDT, Thu September 27, 2012
Siri co-founder credited among inventors
A newly-published Apple patent application seeks the US rights to Siri, notes AppleInsider. The 51-page filing is simply titled Intelligent Automated Assistant, but illustrates software that "engages with the user in an integrated, conversational manner using natural dialog, and invokes external services when appropriate to obtain information or perform various actions." In explaining the purpose of the technology, Apple states that smartphones have numerous apps each with their own interface, which can allegedly be "burdensome to learn or overwhelming for users." A conversational voice command system is said to alleviate the problem.
Elsewhere the patent depicts elements such as the card system, and some of the tasks Apple imagines Siri handling. A few of the latter are already included in the software, such as notetaking and calendars, but others listed are only theoretical, such as the ability to find events at a venue, or send a text message to someone you're already in the middle of a phone call with. A few of these trace back to the original incarnation of Siri as a third-party iPhone app. Categories the technology could potentially cover are said to include things like online shopping or information on flights and hotels.
One of the people credited as an inventor is Dag Kittlaus, who co-founded the Siri company. Apple ultimately bought the firm in order to integrate Siri into iOS, but Kittlaus left Apple last year after Siri and the iPhone 4S were introduced.