For months we've all dissected patent applications while simultaneously digesting rumors pointing to the same end - plans to make future generation iPhones all about improved security and advanced user functionality. Today, further evidence suggests Apple is preparing future generations of the iPhone to be far more sophisticated than any model thus far, particularly with regard to voice commands. Our friends at Apple Insider have uncovered an Apple patent application called "Contextual Voice Commands" the goal of which, ostensibly, is to improve the voice control of an iPhone/iPod touch and, subsequently, make the device more user friendly, reliable, and efficient.
Relying on a combination of quick physical inputs as well as voice commands, Apple's proposed system would allow for contextual input on an application-by-application basis. This would narrow the voice command possibilities in any given application, as opposed to a system-wide method that has a large number of options.
Perhaps most exciting is the prospect of these developments being made accessible to developers. Third party applications could then be made to utilize the contextual voice commands. Based on information contained within the patent filing, an "API related to a contextual voice command module" could be easily shared with devs so they too could tinker with these advancements and incorporate said functionality into their creations.