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Apple’s Siri Could Decline Phone Calls With Context-Sensitive Text Responses In The Future


Over the years, distraction from our smartphones when driving has been a major problem, and now it seem Apple wants to solve this problem to some extent.

“Do Not Disturb”, a feature introduced as part of iOS 11, was introduced to help reduce the distraction from message notification and calls while a user’s is driving lesson during workout.

Apple published a patent application on  Thursday to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for “Intelligent Digital Assistant for “ ending incoming calls”. The application is aimed at allowing Siri or any another digital assistant device fix the problem of distractions while driving by declining calls and explain in a message why users can pick accept the calls.

According to the application, the process will happen when an incoming video or voice call is detected, during that process the Siri or digital assistant devices will try and gather as much information about the user’s location or situation whether he is on transit or doing a workout.  This also can include if the iPhone is in Do Not Disturb or another operating mode, or even data from third-party apps that are used for specific purposes, such as a fitness monitoring app detecting the user is in the middle of a workout. The user would also have the option of correcting the message before it is sent.

Combining all this data together, the digital assistant can immediately work with this data and know what the user is doing currently, and can use it to create a message using that information. The generated message can be provided to the user to check that it is okay to send, before sending it to the caller.

Images supplied in the patent application also suggest the system could be used with CarPlay as well as an iPhone, with the message and basic interface shown on the car infotainment unit’s display.

The unbelievable feature is that the system would be able to determine the the caller’s relationship to the user, the messages will be tailored appropriately. For instance, if the user’s gets a call from a marital partner may reference “home” if it is the determined destination, or a call from the user’s boss while on the same journey could remove the reference, and instead state the street name for where the driver is going or how far away he is and when he will be there. 

In each case, the system would provide the user with multiple message options, offering a few different ways to pass a message depending on the user’s wishes. The interface will also include options to answer or decline the call, if the person is still attempting pick the call or call them back.

Apple is seemingly trying to make those messages a bit smarter and more situation-specific. The company’s “Intelligent Digital Assistant for Declining an Incoming Call” patent was filed in late 2016. It hasn’t been turned into an actual iOS feature yet, but who knows what’s ahead at WWDC, which is less than two weeks away.

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