Apple’s ‘transparent texting’ aims to end texting while walking fails

“Apple is looking into technology that offers users an easier, safer, way to text and walk by making an iPhone’s screen ‘transparent’ during messaging operations through the clever use of live video,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider.

“To enable a ‘transparent texting’ system, Apple proposes that an app’s background be modified to display video images continuously captured by an iPhone’s rear-facing camera, according to a patent application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday,” Campbell reports. “Due to their inherently mobile nature, smartphones are often used while moving. This is fine for voice calls, but could be problematic for operations that demand visual attention like reading or writing text messages. Aside from appearing antisocial, texting could potentially cause bodily harm if a user operates their device while walking.”

“The implementation as described by Apple is quite simple. A device uses its rear-facing camera to continuously capture video and present the images as a background within a text messaging app currently being displayed,” Campbell reports. “The onscreen result would be offer the illusion of a transparent display with floating text.”

Apple's 'transparent texting' tech

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’re unsure of the merits of protecting idiots from themselves.

Look around. Why accelerate The Idiocracy?

Apple would better serve humanity by simply letting natural selection run its course. 😉


  1. This feature could be applied to other areas besides texting and walking. Don’t be so closed minded.

    In the near term it could be great for texters, but it could also prove invaluable to those with poor eyesight and those who require assistive devices.

  2. I’m not one who texts while walking, but if I were, I don’t see how this would help me because when I operate my iPhone while standing, I hold it at about 45 degrees at just below chest height. The camera would only see a bit of the pavement in front of me.

    1. And that would be perfectly fine, since it would help you see obstacles and prevent tripping over them.

      There is only so much that the rear-facing camera can do for someone glued to their phone screen.

  3. Natural selection operates in genetic space on large populations over long periods of time. That principle doesn’t apply to individuals who may have already reproduced and die by accident, however stupidly.

  4. Perhaps the same thinking should be applied to cars, get rid of them to protect the idiots that run into others and cause a fair number of fatalities over time. Then again we’d have to give up the ambulance, fire and police vehicles that save lives.

    Perhaps the same thinking should be applied to the sharp blades of metal, get rid of them to protect the idiots that slice themselves up. Then again we’d have to give up the plough and go back to gathering food.

    Perhaps the same thinking should be applied to vaccines and medicines, to get rid of the idiots who encounter rabid dogs and diseases. Then again we’d have to live with a life expectancy much below the one we enjoy today.

    Then again perhaps one should look at the process of natural selection and observe that the creation of tools is part of humanity’s nature. Apples is serving humanity by creating tools, and letting natural selection run its course.

    1. As hannahjs points out above, natural selection really only works pre-procreation. There are a couple of problems with applying natural selection ideals to modern man. First, we have a capacity to learn from our mistakes just as others have a capacity to learn from our mistakes, so wiping the gene pool of the idiot’s unique combination isn’t always necessary for the betterment of the species. Secondly, allowing an idiot to drive while texting may well wipe the gene pool clean of a very smart individual’s unique combination as the passenger or pedestrian that the idiot kills.

      I think your first three paragraphs of “Perhaps…” are meant to explore where the line should be set, which is useful discourse. But instead you threw the baby out with the bathwater, which isn’t useful discourse. Where do you actually think the lines should be set; or, since there are lots of lines, what principles should guide the line setting process?

      1. Hey jt016, thanks for your insightful post. You are indeed correct about the point that hannahjs makes about natural selection. There are many more challenges to applying natural selection to modern man especially if one sees “man” as separate from nature. The other thing is the actual idea of what an “idiot” is, and that it has no value in the natural selection process. I do believe that there is a value to having a population of idiots, after all making things that are idiot proof allows more idiots to be born. Many technologies dumb down the human population, things like calculators, spell checkers, the power point program and one of my favorites television.

        There are several examples of idiot genes if I may use the term, one being sickle cell anemia. You’d think that the recessive gene for sickle cell anemia would be wiped out of the gene pool but it hasn’t. As it turns out that gene has a value in defense against malaria.

        So I agree with your point, idiot should not be wiped out. They serve a purpose and as they say “diversity is stability” so idiots do have a value in the survival of the species.

        My point (the bathwater with the baby) is that any technology can be used in a variety of ways. A gun can be used to slaughter a whole bunch of people, or to hunt for food. It’s the use that’s valuable.

        Same here for the phones. People will text while doing other activities. One approach is to legislate. Another approach is to adjust the technology to minimize risks (like a camera, a proximity detector etc.), and still another to use common sense, leave the idiocy for the politically correct crowd.

        The principles are the same ones since the dawn of time. There is a comment about man being made in the image of man. When I think about that comment I think not so much about the “looks” of god but the activity of god, and that is creation. For the non god like folks, well it comes back to mountain climbers for me.
        Why climb Mount Everest?
        Because it’s there.

        At any rate thanks for your post, it was enjoyable food for thought.

    2. I think Road Warriors “perhaps” paragraphs are a little off. For example, the same thinking does not lead to getting rid of cars to protect idiot but instead to get rid of seat belts so we can get rid of idiots. You get rid of cars then how do we get rid of the idiots that don’t know how to drive?

      Don’t seat belts enable the idiots to survive. Likewise, doesn’t this patent enable idiots to survive texting while walking?

      1. Hey hoffbegone, thanks for your post.

        You are right, my “perhaps” paragraphs are more than a little off. That was the point. I agree with you that the patent enables idiots to survive texting while walking. I support that. Based on MDN’s take it looks like they don’t. That was the point of my original post.

        Hope this helps. Love the seat belt idea by the way, it’s spot on.

  5. Ya, so now the idiots in the world will be holding their iPhones at the top of the steering wheel with two hand while texting/driving, then argue with the officer, “but I could see where I was going, there’s an app for that”… Let the natural selection process carry on, but don’t take out the any innocents.

  6. Sounds clever, and even with this technology, idiots will still look only in the direction of their phone while crossing the street, so they are just as likely to get hit by cars from the side.

  7. Does anyone remember the learning about Eugenics Movement in the 19th and 20th century, and more importantly, why it was a bad idea in hindsight – or has that already been purged from curriculum? Are all those worried about preventing the Idiocracy also concerned about how the Common Core is shaping the minds of the today’s youth?

  8. This won’t stop idiots walking into things, because it’s a fact that when looking at something intently, or concentrating on something, the brain ‘grey’s-out’ everything else, which is why people can walk straight into a street light or telegraph pole that’s right in front of them, and it still won’t stop fuckwits walking straight off the kerb into the path of a car, truck or bus.
    I came up behind a girl walking and texting on my bike, rang my bell and started to go past her, and she turned and walked straight in front of me!
    Knocked me clean off the bike, she went flying, and her phone hit the Tarmac and smashed into pieces, which gave me some small satisfaction.

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