Apple has been stubbornly resistant to the idea of adding multiuser support to iOS. But according to the company’s newly granted patent for “User profiling for voice input processing,” it may be implementing that idea with Siri, via AppleInsider. Siri can already distinguish an iPhone owner’s voice from other people, but it has so far been unable to provide customized responses for different users.
The goal of the patent is to allow a device to identify different users, whether that be through a username and password, recognizing specific commands, or biometric voice print. Then the device would be able to respond using a library of past commands to match a specific user’s content preferences, requests, and phrasings to make Siri more accurate.
While the patent is more focused on utilizing user identification to improve accuracy, identifying specific users would have other benefits, too, like solving issues on shared devices like Apple’s HomePod where anyone can ask to have the owner’s text messages or calendar entries read out loud.
Obviously, this is just a patent for now, and a particularly broad one that might just be referring to Apple’s existing personalized “Hey, Siri” support. And since even the possibly expanded functionality isn’t particularly user-facing, it may never be clear if Apple will implement those features on existing or future hardware. But if anyone is holding out for the dream of, say, a multiuser iPad, it’s nice to see that Apple is working on something that’s at least adjacent to that.
Update August 14th, 10:40am: Clarified claims of patent.