The company notes that "Recent advances in natural language processing have enabled users to interact with digital assistants using natural language, in spoken or textual forms, rather than employing a conventional user interface (e.g., menus or programmed commands). Such digital assistants can interpret the user's input to infer the user's intent; translate the inferred intent into actionable tasks and parameters; execute operations or deploy services to perform the tasks; and produce outputs that are intelligible to the user."
To invoke the digital assistant Apple says that various methods can be used. For example, the assistant could be assigned a dedicated key on the keyboard, or it could be woken up by a predetermined voice input (e.g., "Assistant, wake up!"), or a touch-based gesture could be used to activate the digital assistant either from a suspended state or from a completely dormant state.
Once invoked, Apple says you could be shown an iconic representation of the digital assistant. For instance, an icon could appear in the dock or in a designated area of the desktop. A user could drag and drop one or more objects onto the iconic representation of the digital assistant to perform one or more user's specified tasks with respect to those objects. In some embodiments, the device allows the user to provide a natural language speech or text input to specify the task(s) to be performed with respect to the dropped objects.
The patent filing suggests some possible uses for the digital assistant:
Typically, the user request seeks either an informational answer or performance of a task by the digital assistant. A satisfactory response to the user request is either provision of the requested informational answer, performance of the requested task, or a combination of the two. For example, a user may ask the digital assistant a question, such as "Where am I right now?" Based on the user's current location, the digital assistant may answer, "You are in Central Park near the west gate." The user may also request the performance of a task, for example, "Please invite my friends to my girlfriend's birthday party next week." In response, the digital assistant may acknowledge the request by saying "Yes, right away," and then send a suitable calendar invite on behalf of the user to each of the user' friends listed in the user's electronic address book.
During performance of a requested task, the digital assistant sometimes interacts with the user in a continuous dialogue involving multiple exchanges of information over an extended period of time. There are numerous other ways of interacting with a digital assistant to request information or performance of various tasks. In addition to providing verbal responses and taking programmed actions, the digital assistant also provides responses in other visual or audio forms, e.g., as text, alerts, music, videos, animations, etc. In some embodiments, the digital assistant also receives some inputs and commands based on the past and present interactions between the user and the user interfaces provided on the user device, the underlying operating system, and/or other applications executing on the user device.
For more details please see the full patent filing linked below...
Read More [via AppleInsider]