The USPTO has recently published an Apple patent application that describes a Siri-enabled “Smart Dock” which can connect to an iPhone or an iPad. First discovered by AppleInsider, the patent description says that the Smart Dock will have many components, including a housing, connector, microphone, speakers, and a touch screen.
Apple's "Smart dock for activating a voice recognition mode of a portable electronic device" patent filing is described like this on the USPTO website:
Lance Whitney with Cnet explains how the smart dock would work:
Thus, the Smart Dock could be used as a clock with an alarm built-in or, even more, it could have add-ons like a detachable hard disk, accelerometer or temperature sensors and even a GPS sensor. The newly discovered patent also suggest that the dock could become a wireless AirPlay/Bluetooth speaker, as well.
If this patent becomes a real product, then the basic docking solutions that are currently limited to charging and line-out audio will soon have more functions, as the proposed dock would have a screen, tactile controls and even a touch panel with which a user can interact.
Source: AppleInsider, Cnet