The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published two new Apple patent applications (hat tip to AppleInsider), both of which could help improve the sometimes-sorry state of autocorrect. One describes an enhanced method of autocorrection, while the other details a way to automatically determine and change the language for a particular message.
The first application — Transient panel enabling message correction capabilities prior to data submission — is the one that can enhance autocorrect on both iOS and OSX. If activated, this feature would give users a second chance to review words and phrases modified by autocorrect before the message is actually sent.
The way this works is that, after you hit send, your message will be put on a short delay in which you’ll have the chance to review it. You’ll be shown a time window indicator onscreen, along with options to fix errors, ignore, reject and accept changes.
If you choose to fix errors, a new screen will show the message along with a number of additional choices for autocorrected words. This feature can be taught to suggest words used most often and hide those that are rarely used. Here’s a diagram that breaks the whole process down fairly simply:
Apple’s other application — Automatically changing a language for electronic messages — describes a way for your device to instinctively select a language for sending a message based on data like who you’re talking with, or what you’re responding to.
If the system identifies you’ve received a message in Spanish, for instance, it will automatically pull up a Spanish software keyboard for you to respond. This could be very helpful to anyone that uses multiple languages, and constantly needs to manually readjust their keyboard.
Of course, these are just patent applications, so there’s no way to know whether or not this technology will show up in a future Apple device. I’d really like to see both, though; especially that autocorrect feature. As long as you don’t mind the slight delay, it could mean the difference between sending a coherent text message and becoming part of a meme.
This post was updated at 7:11am to revise the headline and clarify that these are patent applications, not patents.