iPhone Instant Message Patent Points to Upcoming MMS, Background IMs, GPS Module

Apple's filed a patent on their upcoming iPhone instant messaging app, detailing exactly what it's going to look like and how it's going to behave. While most of the images show an iChat-esque (and current SMS-like) interface, there are some interesting tidbits we picked up from the text. One, there's mention of "graphics, photos, audio files, video files and/or other attachments as are supported in a MMS and/or Enhanced Message Service," which points to possible MMS support in the future. At the very least, it might mean that their IM app will be able to transfer files. Two, there's also a reference to the user receiving "an instant message while the user of the device is in another application," alleviating fears that we wouldn't be able to IM in the background. Both these snippets are after the jump.


The other interesting thing we found was the illustration detailing what future modules the iPhone will have. Not only is there a GPS module (which may or may not be the current mobile phone triangulation scheme that was added a few months back), but there's sample Search, Video Conferencing and Widget Creator modules. Widget Creator could just be the shortcut to Safari that Apple introduced in the last update, but Video Conferencing? Does that mean a front-mounted camera in the next iPhone? Who knows. Apple's thrown features into its patents that haven't materialised before.

Thanks Tino B!

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