Apple today has been granted a handful of new patents, some of which are more notable than others. Such patents include one for an iPhone “smart dock” with Siri built-in, a new 911 calling method, and more.
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Patently Apple points to one notable patent for an iPhone smart dock with Siri support. The patent covers the invention of a “smart dock for communicating with a portable electronic device to activate a voice recognition mode.” The accompanying figure shows a dock with a built-in display screen, speaker, and microphone. There’s also a built-in processor for recognizing voice input:
A dock for a portable electronic device including a housing, a connector extending from the housing to connect the portable electronic device to the dock, a microphone integrated within the housing, and a processor.
Another notable patent, outlined by USA Today, is for a new technology that allows for more discreet 911 calls. While iOS has long supported nearly instant access to emergency dial, this patent explains that existing methods may not be “practical” as they are “readily apparent to someone watching.”
Instead, Apple suggests a method of having a certain combination of fingerprint readings or screen touches activate the emergency call. The user would be prompted to decide this pattern during the device’s setup, making it unique for each device. Of course, one thing to consider here is the possibility of fingerprint recognition going away with future iPhone models.
Another patent granted to Apple today is for technology that can determine an exit from a vehicle. While iOS already supports this in select instances, this patent seemingly covers more advanced technology that can determine a change from driving to walking and then subsequently change the Apple Maps direction mode, perform communication tasks, and more.
Finally, Apple was granted various design patents and other technology patents for things such as the iPad Smart Cover design, Bluetooth enhancements, data migration technology, and more.
As always, patents should be taken with a grain of salt and don’t always indicate a future product launch. Nevertheless, they offer an interesting look at what select teams within Apple are working on.