You might one day be able to have text conversations with Siri

Voice-based assistants like Siri are a useful way to use your phone hands-free, as well as often being faster than typing or tapping, yet Apple might one day let you use iMessage to type messages to Siri instead.

That idea comes from a patent, spotted by 9to5Mac, and while it might sound like a step backwards there are situations where such a feature could come in handy, such as if you’re somewhere where there’s too much noise for Siri to hear you, or where speaking is frowned upon – such as a library, or indeed somewhere that you just want some privacy.

Your interactions with Siri would be displayed like any other instant messaging conversation, with text bubbles for both your questions and Siri’s replies – so, importantly, Siri would give a written rather than spoken response as well.

Patents aren't products

It’s worth noting that patents often don’t transition from idea to reality, and when they do it can take years to happen, so we might not see this feature added to Siri for a long time, if at all.

Then again, it’s possible that it could arrive as soon as iOS 11, especially as Siri is rumored to be getting an overhaul as part of the update, with the assistant said to be gaining the ability to learn and anticipate your habits.

Whether any of this will actually make it into Apple’s AI assistant remains to be seen, but we should know soon, as iOS 11 is likely to be announced at WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) on June 5.