Apple has recently patented a dynamic user interface for messaging applications that changes the background according to the conversation partner.
The new feature is dubbed “Contact Aware User Interface for Messaging Applications”. It involves displaying the contact photo associated with your conversation partner to remind you who you are conversing with as the background, with your texts overlaying it. This is a great way to remind you who you are conversing with, and hopefully leads to less cases of mistaken identity. Basic editing of the photos can also be performed, such as dimming and alpha-blending. The feature requires you to link a photo with your desired contacts prior to use. If none are linked, a generic male or female icon is used in place based on contact information.
As for group chats, various options are available to accommodate all the contact pictures for those involved. There is a grid system, carousel-like cycling of images and color changes such as graying out of all except the last person who texted. Apple has not confirmed which applications will be adopting this new new interface.It is safe to speculate that future iterations of iMessage will be included, perhaps even that in iOS 8. The patent has also described a potential application programming interface (API) to allow the integration of this user interface into third-party applications. This diversifies the allows more developers and indirectly, users to benefit from this feature.
Apple seems to have found another eye-catching feature to add to its range of already impressive products. Although there is no clear indication when, we look forward to seeing the Contact Aware User Interface in action.