The USPTO has recently published an Apple patent application that describes a Siri-enabled “Smart Dock” which can connect to an iPhone or an iPad. First discovered by AppleInsider, the patent description says that the Smart Dock will have many components, including a housing, connector, microphone, speakers, and a touch screen.
Apple’s “Smart dock for activating a voice recognition mode of a portable electronic device” patent filing is described like this on the USPTO website:
A dock for a portable electronic device including a housing, a connector extending from the housing to connect the portable electronic device to the dock, a microphone integrated within the housing, and a processor. The processor is operatively coupled to receive audio input from the microphone, and in response to the audio input, transmit a message to the portable electronic device via the connector to activate a voice recognition mode of the portable electronic device.
Lance Whitney with Cnet explains how the smart dock would work:
Key to the new dock would be integration with Siri. Rather than including Apple’s voice assistant, the dock would tap into Siri on your mobile device. You’d activate Siri simply by speaking or making a noise, such as clapping your hands or snapping your fingers. You could then ask Siri to perform an array of tasks through your dock, such as playing a song, sending and viewing e-mail, listening to voice mail, setting an alarm, checking the weather, and browsing the Web.
Thus, the Smart Dock could be used as a clock with an alarm built-in or, even more, it could have add-ons like a detachable hard disk, accelerometer or temperature sensors and even a GPS sensor. The newly discovered patent also suggest that the dock could become a wireless AirPlay/Bluetooth speaker, as well.
If this patent becomes a real product, then the basic docking solutions that are currently limited to charging and line-out audio will soon have more functions, as the proposed dock would have a screen, tactile controls and even a touch panel with which a user can interact.