Apple has identified that sometimes you can’t talk to your phone in a loud, clear voice and that certain situations may require a little more delicacy.
A patent has revealed Apple‘s plans to develop a voice assistant that can detect when you’re whispering and know when to whisper back.
It is unclear when, or if, Apple plans to launch the technology.
The patent, titled ‘Digital Assistant Providing Whispered Speech’ was first filed in 2016 and was published last week.
Apple states in the patent that there is a gap in the market for ‘a digital assistant that is capable of detecting a whispered speech input and providing a whispered speech response.’
It describes scenarios where whispering to your smartphone companion is necessary and how it will adapt to understand and whisper back.
For example, working at a cubicle near co-workers or studying in the library are listed as examples of when the whisper detecting function would come in handy.
The document says: ‘Some existing speech recognition devices may be incapable of detecting user’s whispered speech, or suffer from misrecognition of the whispered speech.
‘Nor are they capable of responding to the user using a whispered speech.’
Alex Rudnicky, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Language Technologies Institute, told Gizmodo: ‘I can’t really say why nobody’s come up with this solution.
‘But once you hear it, it sounds really reasonable. Why not?’
The basic principle of the outlined technology is the ability to analyse the amplitude and frequency of the users voice.
It will then compare the voice data to other known tones of voice and reply accordingly.
The patent would expand the use of the feature into trickier environments and widen the scope and use of voice recognition.
Although the patent filing does signal some level of interest from Apple in the technology, it’s not a certain that it will be incorporated into their devices.
Apple, along with several other large companies, file patents for new technology all the time in an attempt to protect it for the future.