Apple has big plans for Siri in 2012. For starters, we expect Apple's digital assistant to put in an appearance in the iPad 3 as well as its hotly anticipated Apple TV, or iTV. Today, we've discovered Apple's Virtual Assistant could be winging its way to the web and email platforms – and it will eventually assist us with online purchases, control our thermostats and even weigh in with its tuppence worth during conversations.
A new patent application, published this morning in the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (spotted by Patently Apple) provides details of an "Intelligent Automated Assistant". In addition to translating user voice requests into actions, Apple's patent goes on to say: "The system can be implemented using any number of different platforms, such as the web, email, smartphone and the like, or any combination thereof."
The patent also hints at Apple's plans for Siri to play a role in cars and in-car entertainment systems.
While Siri already works with both email and the Safari browser, the patent suggests Siri could surpass its current capabilities by working on "different platforms used by a variety of operating systems." Interestingly, the patent includes details about the software being able to operate devices locally or remotely, throwing up suggestions like dialling telephones, controlling light and temperature, security devices and playing music or video.
But perhaps the most bizarre Siri implementation could be its ability to join in and participate in text conversations, suggesting Apple wants Siri to play more of an active role within applications. This could include anything from email and instant messaging, to forums and group chat sessions, where Siri could respond accordingly to initiate action, communication with the user and provide alerts, for example.
When Siri stepped onto the scene during the iPhone 4S launch back in October, Apple announced it was in beta, and that additional features would be coming later.
While these features have yet to be confirmed, one thing is clear – Apple's voice-controlled tech is destined to go far beyond the iPhone and into devices like the iMac, cameras, HDTVs and more. And we can't wait to find out more.