Apple's invention, which may or may not ever find its way into an actual product, aims to stem the scourge of offensive texting.
"One problem with text-based communications is that there is no way to monitor and control text communications to make them user appropriate," Apple's patent states. "For example, users such as children may send or receive messages (intentionally or not) with parentally objectionable language."
The patent also notes that the informal nature of text-messaging may encourage poor grammar.
Apple's patent proposes a system to remedy the situation, in conjunction with a parental control application.
The system's success depends on enforced grammatical correctness. As the patent notes, text messaging is difficult to filter because there's so much shorthand. Blocking dictionary words doesn't work because abbreviations like LOL and its ilk may not be in a standard dictionary file.
To avoid this problem, Apple's system can police bad grammar. The patent proposes filtering text messages by disallowing the use of non-dictionary words. The patent also suggests its grammar enforcement mechanism could be used as an instructional aid for teaching Spanish, for example. However, given the rates at which most text messages are billed, there are probably more affordable ways learn a foreign language.
It appears that the attorneys who drafted this patent don't have much experience with text messaging because the patent suggests that "LOL" is an abbreviation for "lots of luck," rather than the more widely accepted "laughing out loud."
But even if the patent's authors are out of touch with the medium they propose to tame, there are sure to be Apple customers who would welcome the ability to limit what children, or employees, can include in their text messages, particularly given the hype surrounding explicit text messages, also known as "sexting."
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security EnterpriseTo learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
2017 State of IT ReportIn today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.