Ever the kid-friendly outfit, Apple filed a patent in 2008 that aims to make text messaging safer for the children. TechCrunch reports that today, the US Patent and Trademark office awarded Apple a patent which puts a ban on sending obscene text messages sometimes called "sexting."
The technology will prevent an "administered device" -- such as an iPhone, maybe? -- from sending or receiving objectionable messages. The overall strictness of the filter is determined by the administrator of the device and would include settings by age or grade level.
In addition to offensive language filtering, the technology includes a method for requiring users to communicate in a specific language. For example, a specified number of foreign-language words could be required for each outbound message. This is an interesting tool for anyone, including children, trying to learn another language.
Even though this patent was filed in 2008, its promises have yet to be fulfilled. It is not uncommon for Apple to file patents for technology (hardware or software) on which they are currently working. Sometimes these patents result in cool new products or features and sometimes not.
Whether this technology ends up in iOS 5, or some other Apple product, remains unclear. What is certain, is that if it is implemented, it won't take long for people to start hunting for ways to communicate that the device won't be able to filter.