“At its iPhone SDK event last month, Apple touted an adaption of AOL’s instant-messaging client for the iPhone. Now comes news of Apple’s own patent application for a chat feature,” Jonathan Skillings reports for CNET.
“The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published the application, titled ‘Portable Electronic Device for Instant Messaging,’ on March 6–the very same day Apple was providing details on its software development kit for the iPhone, including AOL’s test version of the first “official” native Web chat for the gadget,” Skillings reports.
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Aidan Malley reports for AppleInsider, “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.”
Malley reports, “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,” Malley reports.
“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,” Malley reports.
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