Apple wants to save you from the embarrassment of misdirected messages

Screen_Shot_2014-05-15_at_11

Just yesterday I had the experience of sending a text message to the wrong person. Okay, luckily it wasn’t a compromising message in any sense, but it goes to show what happens when you’re carrying out too many text conversations at the same time.

Clearly someone at Apple has had a similar experience, because a patent published Thursday reveals how future iOS devices might incorporate background images of the people you’re messaging, to ensure you don’t send out misdirected messages.

For group chats, text can be overlaid on one or more images relating to whoever is “speaking” in the conversation.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a photo stored for specific contacts, either. If there is no photo assigned, the system intelligently selects gender based on stored information and then assigns a generic male or female avatar.

Other neat innovations could include displaying images in either color or gray scale according to whoever sent the last message — or using a rotating carousel of images, or else transitional animations, for group chats.

Okay, it may not be a potentially transformative patent in line with the iWatch, for example, but it’s definitely a nifty concept — and one that I’d love to see incorporated into iOS 8.

Apple’s image-based messaging UI patent application was first filed for in November 2012, and credits QA Engineer Enrique E. Rodriguez as its inventor.

  • simpleanswers2articletitles

    Good idea. My time machine is still busted.

  • Kate Valverde

    Or they could just give us a cancel button.

    • Helio Rouchon-Mazerat

      The only problem is that it wouldn’t work with standard text messages, since the function isn’t incorporated in the protocol.

  • mandi2doors

    Android already shows pictures next to text messages, so this really isn’t a new thing :(

  • Brandon Daniels

    Ya it’s called an avatar and it’s been around since aol and icq.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News, Top stories | Tagged: , |