Apple's Siri could be an insanely useful addition to iMessage, patent shows

In the ever-raging wars for personal assistant supremacy, Apple's Siri often comes up short to rivals like Google Assistant. 

That could change soon however as a newly discovered Apple patent points to the digital assistant making a home for itself inside iMessage, the tech giant's own messaging platform. 

"Ho-hum," you may sigh, but as outlined in the patent, Siri integration could be a boon for iPhone users everywhere.  

Siri would be like another participant in an iMessage chat, only one that could look at resources like calendars and users' locations to determine when other people you're chatting with are free to meet or how long it will take everyone to arrive at a destination. 

Users could even vote on the best time to get together via Siri, saving a lot of tiresome back and forth.

Drawings from Apple's Siri iMessage patent

Drawings from Apple's Siri iMessage patent

Perhaps the best feature though is that Siri could help you send money to people from within iMessage, pulling up various payment options and allowing you to pay back those 10 bucks you owe, much like Facebook Messenger. 

The assistant would know if it was being spoken to by utilizing what the patent calls "semantic analysis", letting it interpret words, phrases and intended meanings before interjecting and carrying out a task.

Sending signals

Of course, the biggest question in all this is privacy - with Siri participating in your messages, how do you know what you're sharing is safe from prying eyes?

The patent touches on the possibility of allowing users to "opt in" or "opt out" of allowing access to certain information, noting that the feature could still work even if it didn't have every bit of personal data at its fingertips.  

A patent is no guarantee a feature will ever make it to Apple products, though with reports pointing to Siri becoming a more natural speaker, perhaps Apple is serious about giving its digital assistant a boost. A smarter Siri would be right in line for iOS 11, after all. 

Integrating Siri into iMessage would also help Apple take on Google Assistant and other AIs, such as Microsoft's Cortana and Facebook Messenger. With the major players chomping at the bit to help you with evermore-intelligent assistants, Siri needs something like this to keep up. Either that, or start seeing users take up conversations on their new Google Pixel phone instead.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.