The news of Apple’s transparent texting patent has failed to excite iPhone fans as they say the same technology can be used if a phone is jailbroken. Users with jailbroken iPhones said they have been using this technology for years. Moreover, smartphone users also said that Google already has the technology on their android phones.
Transparent texting is a technology that can change an app’s background to project live images onto the screen from the rear end camera of a device, which would enable smart device users to see any obstacles they may encounter. In 2012, Apple had filed a patent application for this technology – news that saw daylight just recently.
Users of smartphones responded to this news by saying that transparent technology is old news as Google already has it. The news also did not excite apple fans as they also have the technology available on jailbroken phones.
Comments making their rounds on the internet asked for the patents office to reject Apple’s application, as people feel it would be unjust for the firm to claim rights on a technology which is already being used by numerous other apps. Some smartphone users expressed their frustration and anger over the news. “How the hell is Apple allowed to patent technology which predated it by years,” one user commented.
Android fans also made fun of the smartphone giant by calling it “crApple” and posted comments such as “Apple is late to the party again as usual,” and “These apps have been available for years on Android,” all over the internet. Some android fans also took to providing links to the Google Play Store, where apps with similar technology can be downloaded.
Not the solution to the problem
Meanwhile, smartphone users are not the only ones unexcited about the transparent texting news. Ohio State University Professor, Jack Nasar, said that even though the idea of transparent texting sounds good, humans are “not capable of doing two things at once.” He said, “It’s just like talking — your head is somewhere else even though you can see what’s in front of you.”
He further said that research has shown that more accidents are caused by people walking and talking on a phone at the same time, rather than texting and walking. Co-author of a study on injuries from distracted walking, Nasar said that between 2005 to 2010, 69 percent of the pedestrian injuries were due to people being distracted while talking and walking, whereas a mere nine percent accounted for texting while walking. He said it is a subconscious human behavior. “If you’re going to text, you’re probably going to stop, while with talking everyone walks while doing it,” Nasar said.
The professor also said the technology can lead to false sense of security for people who may expose themselves to even more danger. Texting and talking is being increasingly considered as a problem with some US states drafting bills concerning pedestrian texting.
Clinical associate professor in the department of physical therapy at Stony Brook University, Lisa Muratori, also said that the technology of transparent texting is not the solution for all the injuries that texting and walking causes.
She said the visual system is unlikely to work successfully because people will not be able to register their surrounding in the same way as they would if their focus is completely on their environment. Muratori is the co-author of a study on the effect of cellphone distraction on walking and memory.
“I get the concept of what they [Apple] are trying to do. I don’t think it’s going to solve the problem…I’m not confident this technology is going to assist people in being safer when they’re using texting,” she said.
Keeping in mind the technology is already available to Google’s android phone users and users with jailbroken iPhones, the concern of the two professors may be reasonable. The already-existing technology has seemingly not done much to prevent pedestrian texting-related accidents. If their patent is approved, what difference Apple will be able to make remains to be seen. However, the fact that Apple fans have failed to be excited about the news of transparent texting is not likely to sit well with the firm.
By Faryal Najeeb