T-Mobile is using the Animoji and Memoji feature in their ads to sell iPhones. Two years ago, Fast Company’s Harry McCracken invented Animoji Karaoke. Indeed, many were thankful for the fun and whimsical diversion and have publicly wondered what Apple was planning next for the feature.
Since the time of its release, the Animoji feature has received a handful of new characters and tongue detection. Those were not exactly the updates users of the feature were hoping for.
AppleInsider has some good news on that front. They report, “Future version of Animoji might add voice, sound effects based on user expressions.”
“A patent application filed on February 28 and published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on November 22 for ‘Voice effects based on facial expressions’ is all about how a video clip of a virtual avatar is created, but can be altered with special effects that the user can trigger. In short, Animoji but with added extra features.”
Right now, you can record messages with your voice coming through an Animoji head that mirrors your facial expressions. Each message can last as long as 30 seconds. The patent suggests that the iPhone will be able to do more with that information besides play it back.
Depending on the emotion you are projecting, it could make an accompanying sound effect. Think about wearing the cat Animoji head with a happy expression. The cat might purr with contentment. If upset while recording a message, the lion head might roar. These are just a couple of possibilities.
The opportunities for commerce are even greater. Imagine a partnership with Disney where you can record a message with a Darth Vader Animoji. It would present your message with your expressions. But it would be delivered in the Darth’s own menacing voice. How much might Apple charge in an Animoji store for an enhancement like that? Purchase the entire Star Wars Animoji collections. Toy Story, anyone?
It is important to bear in mind that just because something is clearly delineated in a patent, it doesn’t mean that it will ever come to fruition. Apple is constantly patenting and refining ideas. The ones that do find their way into products are usually greatly modified.
Animoji is not the only AR messaging feature available to newer iOS devices such as iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPad Pro. There is also Memoji which allows the user to make an animated avatar of her face. A frequent complaint about the feature is that it does not offer enough detail to craft an accurate model of a user’s face. Expect to see Memoji options expand along side Animoji features.