Next in your iPhone OS: live object identification, face recognition, text filtering, smarter messaging, voice alteration
Apple guys do keep themselves busy thinking up new ways how to improve their iPhone OS software. And Apple’s patent applications give us a glimpse of how they may go about it.
Today a new batch of Apple’s patent apps surfaced, showing us some more interesting things that may come with your next major iPhone OS update.
Real world object identification
The idea in the patent app is somewhat similar to Nokia’s Point & Find service being tested right now in some countries – point your iPhone to a real world object, your handset will recognize what it is and then provide relevant additional info about it.
The object identification could be done via camera/image recognition technologies, RFID tags, barcode scanning, etc;). The user can set different location and context based modes to make the object recognition easier (e.g. Museum, Restaurant, Electronics shop, etc;), or an iPhone can to it itself based on location and other parameters.
The user also can create logs/albums of recognized objects for future reference.
Face detection and recognition
This one is pretty obvious. In a patent app Apple decribes the techniques how to incorporate face detection and recognition technologies into an iPhone, iMac and other devices.
After implementation, face recognition capabilities can be used to control the operation of the device – controlling access privileges and restrictions, deciding whether to put a device into a sleep mode, etc;
Text Message Filtering
In this patent app Apple describes methods for filtering and controlling various text based communications via your iPhone.
This filtering can be applied to outgoing and incoming e-mails, text, MMS, IM and other messages. The text control app can be set up alter the objectionable text (e.g – swear words in an e-mail app), or to help your kid lean foreign language, by making him send e-mails in it:
control application includes an instructional tool or study aid where the administrator sets one or more modes, such as language, vocabulary, grammar, spelling, punctuation and/or other content of a text-based communication based on, for example, a user’s age or grade level. This can be especially useful, for example, such as when a child’s grades go down. A parent can then institute a condition to improve a child’s grades. For example, the control application may require a user during specified time periods to send messages in a designated foreign language, to include certain designated vocabulary words, or to use proper designated spelling, designated grammar and designated punctuation and like designated language forms based on the user’s defined skill level and/or designated language skill rating. If the text-based communication fails to include the required language or format, the control application may alert the user and/or the administrator/parent of the absence of such text.
Smarter messaging interface
There are also couple of patent apps that describe the ways to make your overall messaging/communication experience easier.
One of them is related to multiple recipient messages. E.g. You send a message to your work team and not all the messages get delivered. After a preset time interval the messaging app checks the status of message delivery. If some messages have not been delivered, it alerts you and then provides an interface to easily resend a message to those who did not get it via the same or different means.
Another app is designed to help you deal better with unread messages.
Apple thinks that if you have some unread messages from a person you are about to contact (call or send a message to him), you might want to at least look at them before initiating contact. And that’s exactly what this app does – compares your unread messages, e-mails, voicemails, etc; to the info of a person you are about to contact and informs you if you have some unread messages from him sitting on your phone.
In addition to checking the contact info, the message app can also check for certain keywords – e.g. the name of a project you are writing about and alert that you have some unread messages relating to it.
This one sounds like one of those obvious (“Darn, how come I didn’t think of that..”) cool little things that Apple is especially good at.
Changes voice output in your iPhone
And then there’s a patent app that describes the possibility of altering audio output from your iPhone.
There may be a multiple reasons you’d want to do this. Some of them, described in a patent app are:
Despite the restrictions involved in playing back audio files, users of media devices may wish to change the audio output of audio files. A mother, for example, might wish to change the narrator’s voice in a pre-recorded, commercially available audiobook to her own voice, so that her child can listen to the audiobook as narrated in the mother’s voice in her absence. In another scenario, a student listening to a lecture as a podcast file might want to change the audio of certain sections of the lecture to sound like someone else’s voice, so as to emphasize important parts of the lecture.
Well, that’s about it for today. Let’s see what Apple will try to patent next week.