Apple files for universal iPhone instant messaging patent

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    I like it.
  • Reply 2 of 48
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 48
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Notice at the top between speaker and proximity sensor it says optical sensor.



    Looks like vide conferencing is indeed coming.
  • Reply 4 of 48
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 48
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Quote:

    That is optical sensor for auto-adjusting brightness.



    Ah yes.
  • Reply 6 of 48
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 48
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 48
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    That ought to quiet the bitchin' for 20 minutes or so.
  • Reply 9 of 48
    dagamer34dagamer34 Posts: 494member
    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?!?!?
  • Reply 10 of 48
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 48
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Not that I use IM, but iPhone missing a native iChat program just seems bizarre to me.
  • Reply 12 of 48
    aegisdesignaegisdesign Posts: 2,914member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 48
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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!
  • Reply 14 of 48
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,665member
    Wonder if this has anything to do with the "Conversation" app Bandalay found Jim Cramer alluding to on his show? Thread
  • Reply 15 of 48
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 48
    poopedpooped Posts: 40member
    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)
  • Reply 17 of 48
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    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..."
  • Reply 18 of 48
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 48
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    lostkiwilostkiwi Posts: 638member
    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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