Few of Apple's numerous patent applications make it to market, but if the consumer electronics giant follows through on one filed last week, iPhone users may have the Siri virtual assistant helping them with person-to-person payments through the iMessage platform.
This would be particularly true for groups of people using iMessage to organize meetings and exchange information, according to the patent application dated Nov. 17.
Apple established iMessage as part of its texting service as a way to divert text messages into the broader Apple ecosystem. This enables users to send and receive text messages across multiple Apple devices, but the tradeoff is it works only within the Apple ecosystem.
The patent application states that a communication session on iMessage could result in one or more participants selecting to use a virtual assistant with various tasks such as initiating a financial transaction.
The virtual assistant could determine the financial applications available to each participant in a session and recommend one to initiate a transaction, the patent said.
Siri's other functions would also come into play during an iMessage session.
Adding a P-to-P function makes sense for Apple, since others are using Siri in a similar fashion. PayPal earlier this month introduced the ability to link Siri to PayPal accounts on iPhones or iPads to initiate P-to-P money transfers hands-free.
Siri actually made its debut in payments two months earlier when Berlin-based startup bank N26 added the Siri virtual assistant to its P-to-P services on the bank's mobile app.