Apple's ever-helpful digital assistant Siri could soon get the ability to raise or lower its voice depending on the environmental conditions or to match a user's speech, according to a newly spotted Apple patent.
As reported by AppleInsider (opens in new tab), the patent outlines how Siri could assess the noise of the room, the location of the device it's on, and the distance that it is away from the user to adapt its volume and pitch accordingly.
Right now Siri always answers at the same volume and with the same inflection – and that means it's lagging behind its rivals. Alexa has had a whisper mode for some time, while the Google Nest speakers offer a low-volume Night Mode.
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Other data points, such as the way the user is talking and the time of day, as well as the way the device volume has been previously set, could all be taken into account as Siri decides just how loud it needs to be.
Speak as you would want to be spoken to
Siri might even talk more slowly in a louder environment to make sure it was being understood, the patent (opens in new tab) suggests – though we hope this wouldn't mean getting a weather forecast shouted at you across a busy subway carriage.
We're presuming that if and when this rolls out, it'll apply wherever Siri can be found, so you'll be able to start whispering or raising your voice to the digital assistant whether you're using it on the iPhone or the HomePod mini.
As always with patents though, this is no guarantee that the feature will actually roll out: while patents give us a good idea of what companies are considering and researching, the technology they describe doesn't always end up being available to consumers.
Apple does seem keen to invest some time and effort into developing Siri further though, with the most recent iOS 14.5 update giving users the opportunity to choose a default voice when they set up devices for the first time.