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New Apple Patent Could Make it Safe to Text and Walk

 / Updated 
Image: A woman uses her cell phone to text message while walking.
Apple has secured the rights to superimpose text messages over a live feed from a device's camera.M. Spencer Green / AP file

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Texting and walking is the norm these days, but there's always the risk of strolling face-first into a pole. Now, Apple is following app makers like Text n Walk in patenting tech that should give you a better view of the world around you.

According to a filing on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Apple has secured the rights to superimpose text messages over a live feed from your device's camera, creating a "transparent" effect.

The March 27 claim notes that "the device's user continuously can be aware of the environment beyond the device's display," giving on-the-go texting addicts a better view of their surroundings as they mash away on their iPhones.

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Image: A woman uses her cell phone to text message while walking.
Apple has secured the rights to superimpose text messages over a live feed from a device's camera.M. Spencer Green / AP file

MORE: iPhone 6 Features: What We Want From Apple

The USPTO application specifies that users would be able to turn the transparency on and off at will. The patent also notes alternative uses for this technology, such as viewing Web pages or reading e-books while still being able to look at the environment in front of you. One portion of the application states that the tech "can be applied to virtually any computer-executable application in which text is presented over a background," so iOS app developers could come up with a variety of interesting uses for this "transparent text" if it becomes widespread.

Apple has not specified if or when this feature will show up on a future version of iOS. The company's next software reveal is likely to be iOS 8, which is expected to deliver a fitness-focused Healthbook app while bringing Mac favorites like Preview and Text Edit to the mobile experience.

- Michael Andronico, LAPTOP

Copyright 2014 LAPTOP, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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