Apple has detailed how its virtual assistant Siri could work on Macs.

It's long been assumed Siri would one day extend to desktops, beyond the voice dictation functionality currently available in Macs, but Apple has never actually confirmed that as a real possibility. Until now. A new patent application published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and spotted by Apple Insider, suggests the company has at least considered how a version of Siri for Mac might work.

The application discussed in detail how Siri could work in the backround, and consumers would activate her with a gesture or voice command (kind of like the "Hey Siri" voice prompt that is coming with iOS 8 this autumn). Also, like the phone version of Siri, Apple's virtual assistant for Macs would be able to respond to you, though with more computer power and different interaction standards than we see today, according to TechCrunch.

apple imagined a powerful siri for mac that is voice prompted reveals patent image 2

Siri for Mac would also be able to organise folders, drag and drop files between apps, and copy commands to whatever you're hovering over. You could even use Siri for Mac as an input device, in addition to a mouse and keyboard. Described as a "third hand" in the patent, Siri would notably let you interact with background apps while working on a different app in the foreground.

But all of these features would take a lot of effort from Apple's engineering team. That's probably why Siri for Mac hasn't debuted yet. In fact, this kind of functionality hasn't even been spotted in the OS X Yosemite beta preview, so don't expect Apple's latest patent to come to fruition anytime soon.

Check out the gallery below for more mock-up images from the patent.

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