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Apple files for universal iPhone instant messaging patent

post #1 of 49
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Apple has set the groundwork for instant messaging on the iPhone and other touchscreen devices with an application for a patent on a universal interface for real-time text chat services.

Published in March, the USPTO filing describes an interface similar to the existing SMS (Short Messaging Service) text messaging interface for the iPhone, but with key changes.

In normal use, users would continue to use the same bubble chat interface as with today's phone, complete with the ability to start new messages by searching through the contact list or typing the first few letters of someone's name. Users can also see a past chat history and remove individual conversations from the list.

However, the patent also adds features not present in the current iPhone software. While one chat view closely resembles that of the current SMS interface with a dedicated text field for entering new messages, another would have typed text appear directly in a new message bubble and would replace the text entry box with a list of suggested words.

The iPhone currently floats just its most recommended word above the text cursor during typing.

Significantly, Apple's drawings for the image also make no mention of SMS, instead referring to icons for "IM" and to instant messaging and thus pointing to a universal application of the patent to any data-based chat format. While SMS is mentioned in the patent text, the Cupertino, Calif.-based firm also suggests the chat interface could be used for MMS (Multimedia Message Service) picture and video messages, but doesn't include an interface for sending more than text as part of its filing.

Apple's current chat format for SMS (left) and the patent's alternate version (right).

Examples of composing a new message (left) or viewing chat history (right), both of which are found in existing iPhone software.

Instant messaging is widely considered one of the most heavily requested features for the iPhone since its debut in June 2007, but has remained absent throughout multiple minor updates. The closest official solution has been an AOL-developed client for AIM that would be subject to Apple's software development kit limitations, which prevent background applications such as those offered on many handsets.

Apple's submission to the patent office was first filed late August of last year, two months after the iPhone's US release and several months after the company first demonstrated its SMS chat interface for the iPhone at Macworld San Francisco.
post #2 of 49
I like it.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #3 of 49
Hopefully it works with more accounts than iChat does. While most people use AIM, there are still a few stragglers using Y! and MSN Messenger. As well as a growing number of GTalk users.
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post #4 of 49
Notice at the top between speaker and proximity sensor it says optical sensor.

Looks like vide conferencing is indeed coming.
post #5 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Notice at the top between speaker and proximity sensor it says optical sensor.
Looks like vide conferencing is indeed coming.

That is optical sensor for auto-adjusting brightness.
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post #6 of 49
Quote:
That is optical sensor for auto-adjusting brightness.

Ah yes.
post #7 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Hopefully it works with more accounts than iChat does. While most people use AIM, there are still a few stragglers using Y! and MSN Messenger. As well as a growing number of GTalk users.


iChat does GTalk, Y! is dying, and well... MSN Messenger users... shouldn't want an iPhone.
post #8 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post

Y! is dying, and well... MSN Messenger users... shouldn't want an iPhone.

1) Y! may be dying, but there are still a lot of Y! users with Yahoo mail accounts that still use it.
2) I am an iPhone user and use MSN Messenger. This is the most common IM client in Brasil (and I'm sure many other countries) of which I have many contacts.

edit: Just checked my contacts and I have more people in MSN via AdiumX than any other service. From Brasil, UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Indai, Australia, Trinidad & Tobago, South Africa, Canada, and Yemen. Note: I keep my Contact very clean and up to day; these are not outdated contacts.
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #9 of 49
That ought to quiet the bitchin' for 20 minutes or so.
post #10 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

That ought to quiet the bitchin' for 20 minutes or so.

20 minutes are up. WHERE'S MY iCHAT?!?!?
post #11 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

That ought to quiet the bitchin' for 20 minutes or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

20 minutes are up. WHERE'S MY iCHAT?!?!?

5 minutes between the two posts. Still, I think it's a new record here on AI.
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post #12 of 49
Not that I use IM, but iPhone missing a native iChat program just seems bizarre to me.
post #13 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Hopefully it works with more accounts than iChat does. While most people use AIM, there are still a few stragglers using Y! and MSN Messenger. As well as a growing number of GTalk users.

If you read the patent text it also makes mention of Internet based IM using XMPP, SIMPLE, or IMPS. XMPP is Jabber and GoogleTalk. SIMPLE is used by Microsoft Live Messenger. IMPS is a mobile phone only solution IIRC

Most people in Europe use Microsoft's MSN or Live Messenger. I only know a few Mac owners using iChat and almost nobody using AIM. AIM is about as popular as marrying your goat here. Adding MSN/Live Messenger support in to iChat or the iPhone would be a major thing for us in Europe.
post #14 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

If you read the patent text it also makes mention of Internet based IM using XMPP, SIMPLE, or IMPS. XMPP is Jabber and GoogleTalk. SIMPLE is used by Microsoft Live Messenger. IMPS is a mobile phone only solution IIRC

Most people in Europe use Microsoft's MSN or Live Messenger. I only know a few Mac owners using iChat and almost nobody using AIM. AIM is about as popular as marrying your goat here. Adding MSN/Live Messenger support in to iChat or the iPhone would be a major thing for us in Europe.

Nice catch! That rocks!
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post #15 of 49
Wonder if this has anything to do with the "Conversation" app Bandalay found Jim Cramer alluding to on his show? Thread
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #16 of 49
Quote:
Not that I use IM, but iPhone missing a native iChat program just seems bizarre to me.

Thanks at least to the iPhone web app development architecture, there are a couple of web based IM clients for the iPhone. With really good UI's. I use one quite often.

Unfortunately they are limited by the high latency of EDGE. A native app will be welcomed.
post #17 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Instant messaging is widely considered one of the most heavily requested features for the iPhone ...
The closest official solution has been an AOL-developed client for AIM...

so far I have "unofficially" tried MobileChat, Apollo, iChabber and Fring
all of these are "solutions" too. (they work)
post #18 of 49
I dunno, looks nice and all but all this really is is an extra toolbar with "suggested words" floating on it. An improvement, but nothing to write home about so far.

What might make this really cool is if it really is a universal interface and it supports all those different types of chat and IM *seamlessly* as if they were all the same thing. That would enable Apple to absolutely obliterate all the different IM vendors in one swoop, especially if there is a desktop version for Windows and Mac.

"One chat to rule them all..."
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #19 of 49
Quote:
I dunno, looks nice and all but all this really is is an extra toolbar with "suggested words" floating on it. An improvement, but nothing to write home about so far.

This is just a patent filing. No one has even used it yet to give a critique of how well it works.
post #20 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patent Filing

[...] As used herein, "instant messaging" refers to both telephony-based messages (e.g., messages sent using SMS or MMS) and Internet-based messages (e.g., message sent using XMPP, SIMPLE, or IMPS). [...]

I hope they only use one icon for SMS and internet IMing I hate switching between apps to send essentially the same thing but on a different network.
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post #21 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

If you read the patent text it also makes mention of Internet based IM using XMPP, SIMPLE, or IMPS. XMPP is Jabber and GoogleTalk. SIMPLE is used by Microsoft Live Messenger. IMPS is a mobile phone only solution IIRC

Most people in Europe use Microsoft's MSN or Live Messenger. I only know a few Mac owners using iChat and almost nobody using AIM. AIM is about as popular as marrying your goat here. Adding MSN/Live Messenger support in to iChat or the iPhone would be a major thing for us in Europe.

Yup, nobody in NZ or Aussie that I know of use AIM either. Maybe its the first letter that puts them off? This means that iChat is practically unused as well.
Gtalk is very popular here, but does anyone know a current user of ICQ outside of Russia?

Incidentally, marrying your own goat is unpopular here as well, but I believe sheep are more popular in Australia...?

Kidding, naturally
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post #22 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by lostkiwi View Post

Kidding, naturally

Is "kidding'' a down under term for cuddling with a baby goat?
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post #23 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

This is just a patent filing. No one has even used it yet to give a critique of how well it works.

Requirements for patents really aren't stringent anyway. I'm not sure what's special here anyway.
post #24 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Is "kidding'' a down under term for cuddling with a baby goat?

No we have lots of other terms for that... Along with the SPCA number on speed dial.

Is that where the word 'kidnapping' came from??
..... the greatest fame comes from adding to human knowledge, not winning battles.
Paraphrased from Napolean Bonaparte, 1798
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..... the greatest fame comes from adding to human knowledge, not winning battles.
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post #25 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by lostkiwi View Post

No we have lots of other terms for that... Along with the SPCA number on speed dial.

Is that where the word 'kidnapping' came from??

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post #26 of 49
I HAVE ONE QUESTION.... IS THIS GOING TO BE SOMETHING LIKE THE BLACKBERRY MESSENGER OR NOT!!??
post #27 of 49
Quote:
Requirements for patents really aren't stringent anyway. I'm not sure what's special here anyway.

Apple generally uses crude or misleading drawings for its patent filings that don't give away the goodies.

The patent filing for the iPhone's touch screen. Looks nothing like what it actually is in reality.


post #28 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolasmatac View Post

I HAVE ONE QUESTION.... IS THIS GOING TO BE SOMETHING LIKE THE BLACKBERRY MESSENGER OR NOT!!??

Why the all the caps and grumble emoticon?

Accordng to the patent, it appears Apple is only interested in only connecting with known IM protocols. So, it won't connect to BB Messenger (I know you weren't asking that) and it it doesn't look like Apple will be implementing their own specialized iDevice-to-iDevice system like RiM has.


PS: Though, I wonder if they'll incorporate Bonjour with WiFi to see people on the local network also using iDevices.
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post #29 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

1) Y! may be dying, but there are still a lot of Y! users with Yahoo mail accounts that still use it.
2) I am an iPhone user and use MSN Messenger. This is the most common IM client in Brasil (and I'm sure many other countries) of which I have many contacts.

edit: Just checked my contacts and I have more people in MSN via AdiumX than any other service. From Brasil, UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Indai, Australia, Trinidad & Tobago, South Africa, Canada, and Yemen. Note: I keep my Contact very clean and up to day; these are not outdated contacts.

If Yahoo is smart they switch to a Jabber enabled protocol for their Yahoo! client list.
post #30 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Hopefully it works with more accounts than iChat does. While most people use AIM, there are still a few stragglers using Y! and MSN Messenger. As well as a growing number of GTalk users.

Remember... the iPhone is an international device.

AIM has nowhere near the global market share as either YM or MSN.
post #31 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

Remember... the iPhone is an international device.

AIM has nowhere near the global market share as either YM or MSN.

exactly, the ignorance about this on here astounds me, people are so quick to attack, and even if MSN had less marketshare youd think an apple forum would understand that. \
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Originally Posted by addabox

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post #32 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

Remember... the iPhone is an international device.

AIM has nowhere near the global market share as either YM or MSN.

1) So is the Mac, and it has a much larger international user base than the iPhone at this point and there is no MSN or Yahoo in iChat.

2) The iPhone doesn't even have MMS, which I hear is really popular with the non-US market.

So, while these may seem like a given considering their installed base Apple has confounded us time and time again by not adopting what would seem like easy and obvious choices.
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post #33 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

AIM is about as popular as marrying your goat here.

How popular is that there?
post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Apple generally uses crude or misleading drawings for its patent filings that don't give away the goodies.

The patent filing for the iPhone's touch screen. Looks nothing like what it actually is in reality.



Typically true, yes. However, I could have sworn I read something about the original "design" of the iPhone being tossed out by an angry Jobs and a starting from scratch initiated after.

Dare I suggest, perhaps on some level, that was the original idea?
post #35 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by wraithofwonder View Post

How popular is that there?

Not as popular as in Sudan.
post #36 of 49
Whilst interesting as to what Apple are looking at this appears to be almost as functional as the Fring for iphone, which already does this (AIM, JAbber, MSN, ICQ & Skype messaging) and is available yesterday...I use the S60 version and this doesn't seem to add anything (and therefore is a bit of a dubious patent).
\
post #37 of 49
What is unique about this interface? Why is it patentable?
post #38 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorotea View Post

What is unique about this interface? Why is it patentable?

Good question! I was sort of wondering the same thing......
post #39 of 49
So excited!
post #40 of 49
If others can talk about doing goats and sheep I can ask, where is my new cinema display?? Help! I have my finger on the Dell button!
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