How Apple could smartify iOS’ Do Not Disturb feature


"Do Not Disturb" could get a lot more intelligent.
Photo: Apple/USPTO

With iOS 11, Apple introduced a “Do Not Disturb” feature that texts callers to let them know you’re driving or otherwise engaged if they try and phone when you’re busy. But a future version of the technology could perform a more useful feat by texting context-specific responses to the person calling.

In a patent application published today, Apple describes how your iPhone could analyze available information — ranging from fitness tracking apps to your calendar and location information — to figure out the most useful response to a message.

As Apple describes the technology:

“In one example, a method includes receiving an incoming call. In response to receiving the incoming call, the method further includes obtaining one or more user-specific data items. The method further includes determining one or more user status options; and determining one or more confidence values associated with the one or more user status options. The method further includes in accordance with the determination of the one or more confidence values exceeding a predetermined threshold, providing a plurality of response options associated with declining the incoming call. The method further includes receiving a selection of a response option from the plurality of response options; and declining the call based on the selected response option.”

Yes, that’s a lot of patent-ese in terms of language, but it could certainly be a handy feature. For instance, if you’re running late to a meeting, and the person hosting the meeting calls, it could be useful to send them a message saying how far away you are.

Whether Apple will actually introduce this feature any time soon remains to be seen. Like a lot of companies, Apple files plenty of patents which never make it to market (we’re still waiting on the joystick hidden beneath the now-vanished iPhone home button!). But there’s no doubt that smart features which can carry out useful automated interactions on the part of the user are becoming more widespread.

Here is Google’s recent demo of tech that’s able to make restaurant bookings on behalf of its user:

Source: USPTO

Via: Patently Apple