iPhone, Text Messaging & Trouble

By , Apr 10, 2010

SMSMy absolute #1 use of my iPhone is text messaging. I am an admitted text junkie. I awaken to texts, go to sleep to texts, and spend a good part of my day replying to friends, coworkers, even my daughter from the yard or bedroom rather than yelling out to each other. But sometimes, texts can get you into trouble…

No, I’m not talking about embarrassing drunken texts to exes, or things accidentally sent to the wrong person. What I’m talking about here is inflection. A simple matter of getting your point across, whether it’s sarcastic, serious, funny, etc. This weekend yet again, things with a text buddy got a little strained because of lack of inflection. And so… we back up, explain ourselves, and wish we had called instead.

So this made me wonder, as I have wondered before, why is there no app, be it jailbreak or legit, that allows us to enable bold and italics on the iPhone? There are literally tons of text related apps, apps that allow me to change the fonts and colors, apps (and the actual phone itself) offering dozens of languages and emoji icons.

But so far I have found no app that enables bold or italics. All caps (which tends to be my go to) can be worse because then I’m yelling. But really, I’m not yelling, I just need emphasis or some inflection for the idea I am trying to convey. Granted, I’m no techie, so perhaps there is a simple technical reason that this can’t be done, but with all the amazing things this phone can do I am pretty surprised that this isn’t one of them. And, I am even more surprised that I don’t hear more people expressing an interest in wanting this kind of app.

Every once in awhile I look through the new font/text apps to see if anyone offers it but with the sheer volume of things available maybe I am just not finding it? I will say this, it is something that I would pay a decent price for if it were available.

Feel free to reply if you have alienated someone via text message… just be careful how you word it!

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  • http://Www.papiakon.skyblog.com Papi

    Like this

    • Darrow

      Me too. I’ve been considering this, recently. & why isn’t there a way to do this while web browsing?! If possible, I would be using it right NOW!

  • iPhone

    Personally, I think inflection via text message is a horrible idea. No one wants to spend time bolding and italicizing in a text message. The point of a text is to get a message across quickly, not to hav in-depth conversations. I think you need to quick using your thumbs to speak and put the phone to your mouth.

    • Dudee

      You are a fag. And you’re wrong.

      • Jared

        I disagree with that guy as well but I doubt that means he likes to have sex with men. He does have a point though.

    • Jessica

      Wrong–I for one enjoy taking my time to preserve our beautiful language we refer to as “English”. I just wish that when typing from my I-phone I didn’t have to replace my desire for italics with quotations. Linguistics is a masterpiece, we [literate], human beings can contribute to by the use of language, grammar, syntax, and creativity. So, be courageous, pull out your keyboard and paint a beautiful array of thoughts and opinions in a well-structured sentence full of short-hand free vocabulary. Trust me, you will feel brilliant contributing to the preservation of our thoughtful society as we once knew it.

  • thunderkeys

    There *are* other was to /emphasize/ your points :)

  • Blapp

    because there is no styling in SMS protocol? emoji is just a unicode char or similar, but only interpreted on the iphone. Sure you could do the same thing for bold start and stop signs, but again it would only work between _jailbroken_ iphone users.

  • http://www.ititothemes.wordpress.com iTito

    SMS has a cultural thing for me….hehe

    • Darrow

      ..actually has some good sociocultural discourse happening..

  • SparrowHawk

    @thunderkeys.

    I was about to write something similar, thanx and I really _do_ agree…

  • michal

    That sort of format simply isnt in the software of SMS. If you want an sort of features of that kind, you can always use mail. SMS are transferred on a completely other level than mails. Via the internet and its protocols, you can transfer almost anything, via the GSM-Network, you cannot.

    It is as simple as that. You can always use stuff … etc…

  • michal

    lol, appearently it formatted the thing i wanted to show away due to the html-block:

    it was …

  • KaoticAlchemist

    @iPhone

    Way to be a dick… You obviously don’t understand the culture of the technological age…
    Because of phones, e-mail, forums, and the Internet in general, people have found it increasingly awkward to speak over telephone… I know I do… If I speak, I prefer to see the person in front of me so I can read their body language. You my friend have taken flaming to another level… By commenting on an iPhone help topic you have lowered yourself to less than dirt… So here’s a tip; get with the times, learn to spell and stopping being an ass.

    • Darrow

      Haha, really? Yew kent spayll eether..

  • http://ortegaaj.com ortegaaj

    I think it’d be great. While there are others ways to get your point across. It’d be nice to have the options of bold, italics, etc. Sounds like it’s niot really a possibility though. Thank you thinderkeys; iPhone, why bother…

  • Dzacharandai

    Excellent point!! I always want to emphasize while texting- and dashes and commas don’t do my thoughts justice! I was just searching for an app that made italics possible, only to come up empty handed, literally. No italics. Denied.
    Hopefully someone hears my pleas. That would freakin’ rock.

  • Barry

    It is just a restriction of the SMS protocol. SMS was designed in the early 1980s based on the standard for memo pagers. SMS are transmitted efficiently on a tiny little sideband channel that exists for other purposes, but had some excess bandwidth available. In order to fit SMS into that bandwidth, it is limited to 160 characters per message. Formatting instructions would eat into that character limit quickly, so it just wasn’t included. Another issue is that the SMS protocal is standard worldwide and across all networks and hardware, etc. Changing it now would be next to impossible. Don’t expect much enhancement in formatting SMS in the future.

    What you really need is a more advanced technology, as mentioned in other replies, such as email. Email can be almost equally quick and can be accessed by many through their smart phones.

    It does seem possible that some new chat/text technology will someday emerge to fill the gap between SMS and email, but it would be years before it would be widely adopted across most networks and platforms and become useful. Maybe it will be based on sending short voice messages or even video messages and preclude the need for typing and reading.

    If you are just interested in formatted texting to other iPhone (or maybe other smartphone) users, there may well be a chat client that you and your contacts could all use together that would provide formatting, but if you need it to be more universal, that won’t help you.

    I suggest you use email, or the punctuation formatting like *bold*, and also avoid the use of sarcasm in written communications. I think you will find that sarcasm will often be misinterpreted even with formatting.

    • Darrow

      Wow, well put.

    • Jeffinmke

      Barry, thank you for an intelligent any informed response to this question. As someone who technologically challenged, your explanation really made sense.
      Regarding some of the previous responses, grow up (in italics).

    • http://www.facebook.com/bjtingle BJ Tingle

      didnt the old green screen nokia 3100 have italicics and bold and underline?

  • Jared Boudreaux

    I was just wondering the same thing and came upon your post in my second nature google research. I would also pay to have bold and italics. It’d be great to have that standard, that and convenient dictating features.

  • Ella

    a-GREED. I’m *all* about inflection and it just feels stupid to have to use the workarounds. There’s just no substitute for the classics, bold, italic and underline. :)

  • Erotty

    i found one app named Color mail, which solved this mail format problem. bold/font/italic/color… common format all available. hope it helps.
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/color-mail/id456638499?mt=8

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lisa-Mahany-Dennis/100000284500832 Lisa Mahany Dennis

    I want to Bold all of my typing whether it be texting or anything else. I want that o stay on my iphone. How can I do that?

  • http://www.facebook.com/borkat Tim Borka

    If you are stupid enough to buy an iPhone, instead of an actual smart phone, nobody expects great results from you. That would be like giving a speak and spell to a child and waiting for a cure for cancer.