A newly discovered patent filing by Apple points to a move away from single-user devices for the Cupertino outfit, with voice detection and recognition adding a little extra spice to proceedings.

The patent application, discovered by AppleInsider, details a new feature that would allow iDevices to select and change system preferences based on a user’s voice, effectively making devices work with more than one person’s account settings…

The iPhone works fine as a personal device due to its nature, but the iPad has long been knocked for its lack of user accounts, and this patent could see the beginning of Apple working on a fix for just that complaint.

A user’s voice would be enough to trigger the profile change, according to the patent, which goes a step further than the current implementation of voice recognition currently touted to be part of the soon to be released iOS 5. Here, a user’s identity would be recognized by just the sound of his/her voice.

“Apple proposes to resolve these issues with a system that would identify users by the sound of their voice, and identify corresponding instructions based on that user’s identity. By identifying the user of a device, an iPhone would be able to allow that user to more efficiently navigate handsfree and accomplish tasks.”

In Apple’s own example, a user’s music settings could be changed after giving an oral command, for example. Imagine signing in and out of Twitter by using the sound of your voice — that’s the kind of thing that would make the iPad a truly family-oriented device.

As is always the case with these things, we’ve no idea when this technology will come to Apple’s devices, or whether it will ever see the light of day at all.

Would you like to see voice controlled user switching in iOS?

  • T-Will

    How about giving us an on-screen button that allows people to choose their user account.

    • Asger Drewsen

      +1