Apple has been granted several patents, including a smart dock for iPhones that support Siri. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Apple Inc. has been granted several new patents which were officially published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. One patent details a new iPhone dock that comes with Siri support; another patent is for an alternative and more discreet way of calling 911.

These newly granted Apple patents were first spotted online by Patently Apple. The first patent describes a smart dock for an iPhone. The illustration of this smart dock shows that it comes with a set of stereo speakers, a built-in display and a microphone.

The patent states that this device serves as “a smart dock for communicating with a portable electronic device to activate a voice recognition mode.” Although the patent doesn’t really mention Siri, voice recognition mode certainly sounds like Apple’s digital assistant.

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Apple Patent
Apple's patent for a smart dock which seems to support the Siri voice assistant on the iPhone. Patently Apple

The display on Apple’s smart dock will be able to show the current time/date and provide users with visual feedback, like showing volume levels or perhaps the current connection status. The display might also possibly be a touchscreen, which can be used as an alternative method for controlling the dock's volumes and other settings.

Apple originally filed this patent application back in Q2 of 2012, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office only granted Apple the patent yesterday. The patent also mentions an option for a wireless charging feature. It looks like users may be able to attach power delivery device on the smart dock’s connector, like a conductive or inductive charging plate, which will be capable of delivering power to a device.

Apple was also granted a patent for making discreet 911 calls. The current iPhones running iOS 10 can already perform emergency calls without having to unlock the device. However, the problem is that it’s “apparent to someone watching” and “may not be practical.”

Apple proposes in this new patent that users should be able to make emergency calls using either a fingerprint or a sequence of touch gestures. One example of this is registering the user’s index finger as the emergency indicator for calling 911, as explained by USA Today. This method could also be made more complicated by registering a sequence of fingerprints.

A sequence of touch gestures right on the iPhone’s display could also be used to discreetly call 911. Gestures to initiate an emergency call could include pinching or pressing hard on the screen. It’s likely that this method, or some parts of it, will require Apple’s 3D Touch technology.

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Apple was also granted a patent for “determining exit from a vehicle.” This seems to be a feature that will let the iPhonee know if the user is inside a vehicle and when a users has already exited a vehicle. The iPhone should be able to do this using its built-in sensors.

9To5Mac points out that iOS 10 already has this type of feature, but it’s only limited to Apple’s Map app and is reserved for when users park their cars. This newly granted patent is a bit more advanced since this technology would be able to recognize if a user is driving or walking.

Apple and other big companies are always granted patents, but these doesn’t always mean that every single one of them could turn into a real product. However, with how things are going in the AI race, it seems very plausible that Apple would want a smart dock to further promote its Siri digital assistant.