New Apple tech helps prevent misdirected messages and emails

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2014
An Apple invention published on Thursday illustrates a simple yet effective way to remind a user of who is on the other end of a text message or group chat, a problem that is the bane of people who juggle multiple conversations at once.



As published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple's patent application for "Generation of a user interface based on contacts" enables users of apps like iMessage to be more aware of who they are talking to at any given time, thereby preventing potentially embarrassing misdirected messages.

The invention basically inserts a contact's picture, or photo corresponding to a contact, as the background image for a messaging session. For group chats, text is overlaid atop one or more images relating to the contacts involved in the conversation.


Source: USPTO


In practice, the system recognizes that a user has received or is about to send an iMessage, email, MMS chat or similar correspondence, then identifies contacts associated with that message. A background image relating to the contact or contacts is then used to create a background on which the conversation will take place.

When a contact does not have an assigned photo, a generic male or female avatar may be used as the system intelligently selects gender based on stored contact information.

After an appropriate image is selected, a background can be generated by enlarging, stretching, cropping, tiling or otherwise adjusting the picture to fit the messaging screen's size. Further modifications like alpha-blending and desaturation blend the image into the background, allowing the user to focus on the active conversation text, which includes the usual names, time stamps and other familiar UI assets.



The ability to dynamically modify background imagery is especially useful in group chats. For example, a box can highlight the image associated with the user who sent the most recent response. Alternatively, a selected image can be displayed in color while the other participants are shown in greyscale, thus denoting who sent the last message.

Other variations on group messaging include image thumbnails arranged in a Cover Flow style, a rotating carousel or contact cards with animated transitions.

The remainder of Apple's filing dives deeper into system implementation, including discussion of an API that would potentially open the door for third party apps to access the technology.

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

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    [quote]The invention basically inserts a contact's picture, or photo corresponding to a contact, as the background image for a messaging session. For group chats, text is overlaid atop one or more images relating to the contacts involved in the conversation.[/quote]
    Be nice if they did this for caller ID, which was recently screwed up by using a little picture in a circle of whoever is calling.
  • Reply 2 of 12
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I hope this comes with iOS 8 (although I would prefer it to come earlier) as I use Group Chats a lot.

    chris_ca wrote: »
    Be nice if they did this for caller ID, which was recently screwed up by using a little picture in a circle of whoever is calling.

    Yeah, that little picture is definitely not as helpful as the previous one that took up the whole screen.
  • Reply 3 of 12
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,286member
    My friend said, "Your friend is coming? Why didn't you tell me? I don't like him" and that was in a group conversation where my friend was in - he thought he was only talking to me. How embarrassing. So this UI is much needed.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    I agree this would be helpful for avoiding misdirected responses.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,740member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    An Apple invention published on Thursday illustrates a simple yet effective way to remind a user of who is on the other end of a text message or group chat, a problem that is the bane of people who juggle multiple conversations at once.

    ...

    When a contact does not have an assigned photo, a generic male or female avatar may be used as the system intelligently selects gender based on stored contact information.



    After an appropriate image is selected, a background can be generated by enlarging, stretching, cropping, tiling or otherwise adjusting the picture to fit the messaging screen's size. Further modifications like alpha-blending and desaturation blend the image into the background, allowing the user to focus on the active conversation text, which includes the usual names, time stamps and other familiar UI assets.

     





    The ability to dynamically modify background imagery is especially useful in group chats. For example, a box can highlight the image associated with the user who sent the most recent response. Alternatively, a selected image can be displayed in color while the other participants are shown in greyscale, thus denoting who sent the last message.

     

    Why are the pictures needed?  Why not prefix each response with the user's nickname and have some way to display the names of everyone on the chat on an on-demand basis (some sort of button or link).  Like this:

     

    Quote:


    Jane:  Who's in for bowling?


    Wendy:  Which day and what time?


    John: Tomorrow at  6:30 pm.  Pizza is on me!


     

    Quote:


    People:


    Jane - Jane Doe


    Wendy - Wendy Thomas


    John - John Doe


     

    I agree with Chris_CA, if they're going to implement picture backgrounds for iMessage, they should fix the iOS 7 caller ID pictures first.

  • Reply 6 of 12
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,740member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    Yeah, that little picture is definitely not as helpful as the previous on that took up the whole screen.

     

    And it has to be all or nothing... why?... exactly?

  • Reply 7 of 12
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    john.b wrote: »
    Why are the pictures needed?  Why not prefix each response with the user's nickname and have some way to display the names of everyone on the chat on an on-demand basis (some sort of button or link).  Like this:

    it already has names and pictures next to responses, but I understand the issue since despite this existing I've accidentally sent messages to the wrong people. I think the option to have a wallpaper of the faces would be helpful.

    john.b wrote: »
    And it has to be all or nothing... why?... exactly?

    I don't understand the question. What is all or nothing?


    edit: Are you saying that names and pictures aren't already listed in the iMessage groups?


    700
  • Reply 8 of 12
    lostkiwilostkiwi Posts: 638member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    I hope this comes with iOS 8 (although I would prefer it to come earlier) as I use Group Chats a lot.
    Yeah, that little picture is definitely not as helpful as the previous one that took up the whole screen.

    Yep, definitely agree. Bring back full picture contacts!
  • Reply 9 of 12
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,740member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    it already has names and pictures next to responses, but I understand the issue since despite this existing I've accidentally sent messages to the wrong people. I think the option to have a wallpaper of the faces would be helpful.


     

    I just see a bunch of strange phone numbers when they are for people who aren't in my contacts.

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by John.B View Post



    And it has to be all or nothing... why?... exactly?




    I don't understand the question. What is all or nothing?

     

    Sorry, I think I misunderstood what you were saying.  I was pointing out that there ought to be a middle ground between a fullscreen picture and the dinky little circle/icon that replaced it.

  • Reply 10 of 12
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,675member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    [IMAGE]

    Erica Heims doesn't seem to be a nice person, talking about people behind their back.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    john.b wrote: »
    I just see a bunch of strange phone numbers when they are for people who aren't in my contacts.

    I don't iMessage anyone who isn't in my contacts. If a new number does pop up I add to an existing comment or create a new one. I don't think I've ever had a wrong iMessage or iMessage spam.

    Sorry, I think I misunderstood what you were saying.  I was pointing out that there ought to be a middle ground between a fullscreen picture and the dinky little circle/icon that replaced it.

    Ah, my comment was just that the current image icon is far too small to be useful. The previous setup (below) wasn't exactly fullscreen so I misspoke in that regard, but it did cover the screen from side-to-side in portrait mode, which I liked. I would be fine with something smaller than the iOS 6 and earlier setup but probably at least 2x (using 4x as many pixels) than the current setup.

    700
  • Reply 12 of 12
    I hope new setup group chat message for FaceTime on iPhone make fun to chatting group so cool nice good idea hopeful coming out iOS 8 more deep different anything can't waiting yay!
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