Apple considers a whispering Siri function

Apple considers a whispering Siri function

Earlier this year, a Reddit post suggesting a new feature for Alexa caught the attention of many Echo owners: a whispering function that triggers the digital assistant to whisper back if you whisper at it first. Apple then gives a few examples of when this would be useful, including at the library or in an office cubicle or just to protect privacy.

Currently, users who want to use Siri but don't want her to talking out loud in public can go to Settings General Accessibility and choose the Type to Siri option.

Note that Apple itself is using the term "whisper".

A Siri-enabled device like an iPhone or Apple Watch would measure an audio input's amplitude and frequency patterns to determine if a user is whispering, according to the filing.

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The central idea of the patent is that Siri would be able to recognize when a user is whispering, which would likely be a challenging feature to implement - especially when Siri already struggles with some trickier commands and environments. You don't shout back, "HELLO, I FOUND TWO RESTROOMS NEARBY!" If so, you might be in luck if a patent filed by Apple back in 2016 ever becomes a reality. In 2009, Apple patented a "sponge-like" iPhone dock.

The patent in question, which was just made public today, details the functionality of new tech that would allow Siri to automatically detect the pitch of your voice and adjust the volume of her response to match yours. In 2012, Apple got a patent for 5D technology (there are only four known dimensions).

Asked if this sort of technology could possibly be released any time soon, Alex Rudnicky, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Language Technologies Institute, told Gizmodo that it "could come out any time because the component technologies are pretty straightforward", Rudnicky said. "I can't really say why nobody's come up with this solution". True, the upcoming HomePod won't have a keyboard, but would you really buy a £270 speaker to test its lower volumes?

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