The patent application specifically describes features of “a messaging user interface of a message application” that are not currently in iOS. These include ways to easily acknowledge messages, display private messages, synchronize viewing of content between users, translate foreign language text, and combine messages into a group. The document suggests improvements to some familiar Messages features such as bubble and full-screen effects, as well as sending and receiving money with Apple Pay.
Among the most striking new features presented is full text-editing capability for sent messages. A simple means of selecting a message with a predefined touch input could lead to a menu with an option for editing, resulting in “a message editing interface” and display of “a revised version of the message” for all recipients. The included drawing shows a “Show Edits” button that could show a history of changes.
iMessage apps were introduced in iOS 10 with some limitations, and many messages apps are reliant on existing third-party apps on a user’s device. The patent, however, details fuller apps within Messages and new “Application Management Interfaces”. The enclosed illustrations appear to show a dynamic application dock that would work alongside “input affordances” to guide the user to find the correct app. There is also the suggestion that applications in Messages could be more well-integrated and interactive.
Improving applications in Messages and text-editing features would allow Apple to better compete with other more fully-featured popular messaging apps such as WeChat. When these features will be included in iOS remains to be seen.