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Apple Awarded Patent for Contact Aware User Interface in Messaging Applications

Apple has been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (via AppleInsider) that details a user interface in messaging apps that dynamically changes its background based on conversation participants. The patent details how this interface would adapt to both single and group conversations, and how it would work with specific data to generate images.
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Outlining the "Generation of a user interface based on contacts", the patent describes how a conversation can be displayed over a background image associated with a contact. Users have the ability to assign a photo to a single contact to serve as a background, while the image itself can be adjusted to be dimmed or alpha-blended with a background color to ensure greater message readability. If an image is not assigned, the interface could also generate a default male or female image based on contact information.

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The concept also carries over into group chats, as one user can be highlighted while others are greyed out to display who sent the last message. Alternative methods described in the patent also include showing contact thumbnails in a Cover Flow or carousel fashion, as well as layouts that center and increase the thumbnail of the most recent contacts with animations for emphasis. The patent also describes a potential API for third party developers to integrate the user interface into their own apps.

As with other software patents, it is unknown whether Apple plans to include this dynamic user interface in future versions of Messages or other apps. However, Apple could make changes to the Messages app in iOS 8, which is expected to be unveiled next month at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Recent rumors have suggested that iOS 8 will feature a focus on health-related applications along with enhancements to Maps and Siri.

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 16 weeks ago
This is ridiculous.
Rating: 5 Votes
Posted: 16 weeks ago
iChat-style icons would be MORE than enough. Nothing more. Apple got UX design in 2005 right. Stick to it.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 16 weeks ago
Better fix my iMessage first.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 16 weeks ago
Way too crowded. Messages should be about messages.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 16 weeks ago
sounds like something you have been able to do with WhatsApp, Viber, Kakaotalk for like forever?
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 16 weeks ago

Apple and Pictures are the two things that does not go together.

. Lack of proper file storage, access or backup of photos in iCloud.
. No recent support for Aperture
. Stupid small contact photos
. No real user photo controls

and now they want to patent putting a contact photo in messages =/

of all the things they could / should be fixing this is what they waste time patenting? .... newsflash I don't need to see who is messaging me.

News flash apple is a huge company! They can do multiple thing at once.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 16 weeks ago
THIS NEEDED A PATENT?

I don't know.. I think this should of been done back when they added the photos for contacts, like when you make phone calls. Its sort of cool, but why worry about it now...
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 16 weeks ago

This is why they spend so much time in court. A patent for this is completely unnecessary and really should not be legit!!


It seems that filing for a patent is like hitting a hot girl in a bar. You can try, knowing she'll say no, but you can still try.

The trouble is that the patent hot girl has beer goggles... :-)
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 16 weeks ago

Another example of Apples "I think, therefore I patent" mentality.
In no rational, reasonable jurisdiction should this sort of thing ever be considered patent worthy. Period.
Note to Apple: Innovate don't litigate.


I agree with you that these sort of things are not patent-worthy. However, Apple is hardly the only company that does this. It's an unfortunate, but legal, loop-hole on the patent office that really needs to be fixed. If not them, Samsung or others will patent this and make money from it ... this is a business not some idealistic campaign.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 16 weeks ago
This is why they spend so much time in court. A patent for this is completely unnecessary and really should not be legit!!
Rating: 1 Votes

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