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Wacky Apple Patent Makes Walking While Texting Easier

by Todd Haselton | March 27, 2014

ios-texting-while-walking

You shouldn’t be texting and walking at the same time. For one, you run the risk of accidentally walking into traffic. Second, it’s rude, especially when you aren’t paying attention and end up swerving all over a crowded sidewalk. Apple realizes there’s a problem here, and a new patent describes how you might be able to see the sidewalk in front of you while you’re texting.

Basically, instead of having a flat background in iMessage, Apple could use your camera to create a transparent phone effect. The camera would essentially provide a feed showing you exactly where you’re walking — as if you could see through your phone — but at the same time you’ll have access to your keyboard and text message app. That way you can avoid potholes and other people, while still nose deep in your phone. Sound exciting? It’s neat, but the app actually already exists.

On Android, an app called “Walk N Text – Transparent Screen” provides a transparent keyboard for you to use while walking. There are others, too, like Transparent Screen and Transparent Caller. Since Apple keeps iOS locked down from third party keyboards, these apps haven’t made their way to its platform yet — but Apple may make it a reality if it actually does anything with this patent.

I don’t think we should encourage people to walk around while texting, even if an app like this might make it slightly easier and possibly safer to do so. Here’s a look at one of the full patent images:

patent-apple-text-while-walking

USPTO GigaOm

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Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...