avatarby Dan BartramApril 5, 20170 comments

A recent patent filing by Apple could hint that you’ll soon be able to customize the hotword used to trigger Siri.

In addition to this customization, The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) filing could also introduce a new security feature that would be able to distinguish the voice of the owner and only unlock based on a check of the voice.

Combining the ability to identify a user based on their voice with a custom hotword would be the ultimate in lockscreen obscurity and offer a two-factor authentication mechanism.

The current “Hey Siri” hotword can be used to trigger Siri to listen to commands without the need to press any hardware buttons. By using a custom keyword, Siri can train to understand and recognise your voice and that will also improve in eliminating the unauthorized attempts.

“Unless your iDevice recognizes you on multiple security levels, Siri will remain unresponsive to commands or requests,” noted PatentlyApple. The patent drawing noted below illustrates a process for recognizing a speaker to invoke Siri.

 The patent was filed in Q2 of 2016 so it’s unclear if Apple has plans to incorporate this as a major feature in the upcoming iOS 11. The new technology could be paired with Apple’s HomeKit and even CarPlay to accommodate and authorize custom user commands based off a trusted voice to perform tasks.

Although just a patent, and at this stage just a concept, the idea of being able to customize a voice assistant to this level is extremely interesting. However, it will certainly be interesting to understand how false positives are handled and also how security is maintained by preventing unathorized users from attempting to gain access.

Would you find customizing Siri a useful feature? Drop us a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

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