Have you ever had a group chat with your friends and end up sending a particular message to the wrong one? Well, Apple wants to eliminate that possibility in texting, chat and email.
In an application filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, Apple is seeking a patent on an invention called “Generation Of A User Interface Based On Contacts.” The invention essentially inserts a contact’s picture, or a photo associated with that contact, as the background image for a messaging session. For group chats, text is superimposed over one or more images relating to the contacts involved in the conversation.
“The conversation can be associated with one or more contacts engaged in the conversation...For example, the first conversation may be displayed over a contact image associated with one of the contacts…In this way, the contacts engaged in the conversation can be immediately apparent to the user, which can help to eliminate the possibility of messages being inadvertently sent to the wrong contact,” Apple notes in the patent application.
The system would put the contact picture of the person you’re conversing with in the background of your message window, with the text of your actual conversation overlaid on top, the application notes. For group chats, the system suggests using multiple contact pictures for the backdrop, either arranged in a grid, or in a cycling carousel, or with various visual cues like showing some grayed out and one in color to indicate which contact sent you the last message you received.
As pointed out by TechCrunch, individual text messages are rarely sent to someone in error, but it could happen.
“Text message fails aren’t as easy to fall into as [direct message] fails, really, but they do still happen and they can still have disastrous effects,” the web site points out. “Apple’s patent seems like it could mess up the clean [user interface] approach they’re going for, but it also includes provisions to make the images shown more subtle, like opacity changes, instead of just garish full color wallpapers. Like most Apple patents, it’s not likely to make its way to shipping product anytime soon, but it’s another example of the company targeted small [user experience] changes in core phone experiences.”
Apple says in the application that the system is not just limited to mobile messaging, but that it also could apply to messaging applications in general or any system that displays content associated with one or more contacts.