Apple has filed for a patent that would see its Siri personal assistant become a more serious competitor to the likes of Google Assistant. Google Assistant can be found in Google's Pixel phones, the Allo app and the Google Home speaker. It's able to hold proper conversations and deliver results to questions within the context of what's on screen or what's previously been asked.
Siri on the other hand is able to handle relatively complex queries, but sometimes struggles with the context of conversations.
The patent in question, first spotted by Apple Insider, shows Siri being used within iMessage group chats to provide directions to a meeting place, schedule meetings, send money via different payment channels and more. The example of scheduling a meeting works by one participant asking Siri when every member is free to meet up. Siri is then able to tap into all participants' calendars to find free times and suggest them to everyone.
Users can then vote which one suits them best and Siri will add it to their calendars.
The new and improved Siri could also send money to other users and could scan the other person's iPhone to see which payment methods are supported and activated and suggest one to use.
Of course, there's the issue of privacy at stake, and the patent says all users are able to choose whether to opt in or out or Siri accessing their personal data during iMessage chats.
For now, this is just a patent, although it was apparently filed in May 2015. However given the rise in popularity of voice-enabled personal assistants, we wouldn't be surprised if Apple is working day and night to bring the new features to iPhones in the not-too-distant future.