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Patent application suggests contextual voice commands for iPhone

David Quilty

A patent application filed by Apple in 2009 but just released to the public last week shows that they want to improve on the voice command abilities of the iPhone. As reported by AppleInsider, the patent looks as though it would make voice commands available in individual applications rather than system-wide, narrowing down the possibilities to a chosen few commands and drastically reducing the chances of the iPhone making a mistake.

The patent also mentions allowing third-party apps to make use of voice commands, and that users could be audibly notified of what app they had selected along with a list of corresponding voice commands. This could come in really handy when driving the car or riding a bicycle, when one's eyes should be on the road and not staring at an iPhone screen.

Now I don't know about you, but I have never been able to reliably use the voice command feature on my iPhone. The few times I've tried to use it, I ended up calling an ex-girlfriend when I meant to call the current one, or I called my grandmother instead of my brother. So any improvements Apple could make to voice command would be more than welcome. I have used other voice command apps like Dragon Dictation and Apple's recent acquisition Siri, but a context-based voice command system would be a great addition to the iPhone's abilities.

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