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.

Tag: patent

Top Rated Comments

Dulcimer Avatar
97 months ago
This is ridiculous.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bushido Avatar
97 months ago
sounds like something you have been able to do with WhatsApp, Viber, Kakaotalk for like forever?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thefourthpope Avatar
97 months ago
Way too crowded. Messages should be about messages.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mabaker Avatar
97 months ago
iChat-style icons would be MORE than enough. Nothing more. Apple got UX design in 2005 right. Stick to it.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lapidus Avatar
97 months ago
Better fix my iMessage first.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rhoydotp Avatar
97 months 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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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