Siri could soon make declining phone calls more useful and personal

Phone Call

A new Apple patent application shows that Siri could one day provide an iPhone caller with a reason why you had to reject their call. In doing so, the process of declining calls could become a more enjoyable and useful experience for those on both sides of the digital cord.

The new application, published on Thursday by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, “Intelligent Digital Assistant for Declining an Incoming Call,” notes that current call interfaces are limited and only provide basic options to answer or reject a call. As such, it says there’s a need, especially with important callers or family members, to advise the individual why the call can’t be answered.

The solution is to allow Apple’s voice assistant to gather information about the user, and then convey those details to the caller automatically. For example, Siri could alert the caller about the user’s current location, or whether the iPhone is in iOS Do Not Disturb, or another operating mode.

Continuing, by detecting the use of a fitness monitoring app, Siri could tell the caller you’re unavailable and at the gym. Or perhaps you’ve activated Theater Mode on your Apple Watch, thereby giving Siri permission to tell important callers that you’re currently enjoying a movie and will call them back when the film’s over.

Apple files countless patents around the world each year that never develop into new products. Let’s hope this isn’t one of those cases. The tool presented here sounds like something that would benefit everyone involved. Besides, it’s always nice seeing Siri get smarter, no?

With that being said, it’s a busy time for Siri development, especially with this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) set to begin on June 4.

In the past few weeks, for example, we heard that Apple’s voice assistant could soon control another HomePod speaker, this one sold under the Beats name. We could also see Siri controlling our calendars on HomePod. Regardless, Siri has a lot of catching up to do. At last count, Google Assistant works with 5,000 smart home accessories compared to just 200 for Siri and HomeKit.

Should Apple bring new calling features to iOS by way of Siri? Let us know below.