An Apple patent published today describes using iMessages instead of voice to interact with Siri in environments when speaking wouldn’t be practical.

This could span both ends of the spectrum, from very noisy environments like construction sites, where your voice cannot be heard, to very quiet ones like libraries, where you would disturb people by speaking. It would also be useful for people who don’t feel comfortable talking to their phone in public …

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The patent employs the usual dense language.

In one example process, a graphical user interface (GUI) having a plurality of previous messages between a user of the electronic device and the digital assistant can be displayed on a display. The plurality of previous messages can be presented in a conversational view. User input can be received and in response to receiving the user input, the user input can be displayed as a first message in the GUI. A contextual state of the electronic device corresponding to the displayed user input can be stored. The process can cause an action to be performed in accordance with a user intent derived from the user input. A response based on the action can be displayed as a second message in the GUI.

The main illustration, however, makes it clear how this would work – showing typical Siri interactions as typed queries and written responses. The patent was spotted by Patently Apple.

It’s not the first time we’ve encountered the idea of using Siri in iMessage. An earlier patent described Siri proactively interjecting in iMessage chats, and there’s been a sketchy report that this type of feature will appear in iOS 11.


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