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Apple still interested in iChat AV answering tech?

updated 11:05 am EDT, Thu April 9, 2009

iChat videomail patent

Apple may continue to have an interest in automatic audio or video replies within iChat, a newly-published patent application hints. Under the Apple technology, people away from their computers or simply busy could instruct iChat to play a prerecorded audio or video message to anyone attempting chat. The length of each message could be used-defined.

AV auto-replies were originally expected to be included with Mac OS X Leopard, having been a part of pre-release builds of the OS. They were eventually dropped before the software's 2007 launch, but changes present in the patent filing, dated October 2007, suggest that Apple has persisted in working on the technology.

The updated version could for instance only reply to chat requests after a fixed period of time has elapsed, based on inactivity before or after the request was made. Answering machine messages could also be sent to a remote server, which would permit them to be triggered even when a user is offline. Such a feature would likely be most useful in a corporate setting.

The server could additionally be set to store video responses, such that when a person comes back online, they could view one or more clips recorded by their peers. To facilitate this, Apple proposes creating a generic video mailbox which could be accessed from iPhones or a website. The concept could in theory become especially relevant with the advent of video recording in iPhone 3.0.

by MacNN Staff





  1. DeezNutts

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why a patent?

    Why is something trivial like this in a patent?

    I've worked with and written code on an enterprise chat application that offered similar functionality (the audio reply , not the video).

    There is nothing groundbreaking about the code involved in something like this.

  1. EternalGuest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    i assume that a good amount of these patents that companies like apple make aren't so much for keeping the concept from being used by other people, but protecting themselves from future lawsuits. by patenting this, they avoid some obscure company coming out the woodwork down the road and demanding money.

    or i could be wrong as usual. :)

  1. VValdo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yeah, right

    Which is why we see multitouch on so many Android phones and the WC3 widget spec will have automatic updates..


  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Yeah right

    Well, the widget spec isn't going to have the updates if Apple doesn't allow the patent to be used.

    And Apple did NOT invent multitouch, nor have a patent on it. They have patents on how they use it (the software), but stop acting like they created and control the concept.

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