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The possibility of Siri coming to the Mac is one of those subjects that's always been popular on the Apple rumor mill, but a new patent application discovered by AppleInsider suggests we may see it after all. Intriguingly, the features described in the application extend even further than the features currently offered for iOS. There's even a hint that future Apple desktop screens might feature screens support interaction via touch.
The application itself was filed in February of this year (although a provisional application from 2013 predates it). The "virtual assistant" service itself would be stationed on the dock of OS X, allowing users to activate it with voice and (yes) touch commands for added convenience. Most notably, the application describes a "third-hand" system that would let users offer commands to Siri while they continue to work on other projects at the same time with a mouse and keyboard.
"In some embodiments, a digital assistant is invoked on a user device by a gesture following a predetermined motion pattern on a touch-sensitive surface of the user device," the abstract for the application states. "In some embodiments, a user device selectively invokes a dictation mode or a command mode to process a speech input depending on whether an input focus of the user device is within a text input area displayed on the user device. In some embodiments, a digital assistant performs various operations in response to one or more objects being dragged and dropped onto an iconic representation of the digital assistant displayed on a graphical user interface. In some embodiments, a digital assistant is invoked to cooperate with the user to complete a task that the user has already started on a user device."
The idea hardly seems far-fetched: Apple has already started migrating features associated with its mobile operating system over to desktops with Yosemite, most notably in the case of the Reminders that pop up while engaged in a task. The introduction of such a feature might have to wait until Apple releases its next desktop operating system, as there's currently no evidence of such a feature in the current beta builds of OS X Yosemite.
You can read the 92-page application here.
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.