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Apple Patent Hints At Always-Listening Mode Through New Smart Dock

by Brandon Russell | December 5, 2013December 5, 2013 5:30 pm PST

WWDC 2013 - iOS 7 - Siri - 002

A new patent filed by Apple suggests the company might toggle a pseudo-always listening mode in conjunction with a new Smart Dock. Discovered by iClarified, the filing outlines a new peripheral that will activate Apple’s Siri by voice-only, making the experience entirely hands-free. The method is is described as working with an additional dock, and not independently by the phone itself, so it’s unclear if Apple will ever release a function to the iPhone similar to the Moto X’s Touchless Control feature. With an A7 chip and companion M7 co-processor, Apple’s latest iPhone 5s certainly has the processing power to perform more demanding functions.

The docking station itself would have an integrated microphone and its own processor, which combined would activate a voice recognition mode on a device like the iPhone. So instead of getting up, walking over to your device while it’s docked, and then performing an action, you could seemingly command the device to perform a specific function without ever touching it.

The functionality would be hugely convenient, though it’s unclear just how close a user would need to be in order for the voice commands to properly work. Think of it as a sort of Siri Eyes Free, but for your home. Now if only Apple would activate a similar mode by default without any companion hardware, hands-free operation would obviously be much more powerful.

USPTO iClarified

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...