A new group of Apple patent filings published this week suggest the iPhone-maker is working on adding object identification capabilities to the device, among other features. As described by the patent filing, this “ID App” would allow users to identify objects, structures and other features of their surroundings by using information received by the camera, an RFID reader, or an Infrared camera. This information could be combined with current location data in order to more accurately pinpoint the appropriate database for the identification search. Another filing describes a method for recording and saving outgoing voicemails and tying them to the recipient’s contact information for later playback and reference, while yet another describes a system by which a consumer could pre-select the media to be loaded onto his or her device before purchasing, so that it could be downloaded immediately to the device and be available within minutes after opening.

Two more filings focus on improvements to messaging, the first of which describes a system of parental controls which would filter out objectionable text content in messages based on the user’s age or grade level, and could also alert the parents or other administrators to the presence of such text. The second outlines a messaging application that could determine whether a message was successfully sent from the device to one or more recipients, and allow the user to re-send the message without the need to retype it should the initial delivery attempt fail. Finally, a new filing suggests the company is working on a method for displaying song lyrics or other text-based content on a partially transparent, scrollable “sheet,” which is overlaid on the standard touchscreen iPod controls. As with all Apple patent filings, these do not necessarily represent any future product releases from Apple, but offer evidence of the company’s research in this area. [via AppleInsider]

Charles Starrett

Charles Starrett was a senior editor at iLounge. He's been covering the iPod, iPhone, and iPad since their inception. He has written numerous articles and reviews, and his work has been featured in multiple publications.