The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published the application, titled "Portable Electronic Device for Instant Messaging," on March 6--the very same day Apple was providing details on its software development kit for the iPhone, including AOL's test version of the first "official" native Web chat for the gadget.
The GUI has a set of messages exchanged between a user of the device and another person. The set of messages (is) displayed in a chronological order. In response to detecting a scrolling gesture comprising a substantially vertical movement of a user contact with the touch-screen display, the display of messages (is) scrolled in accordance with a direction of the scrolling gesture.
As demonstrated last month, the AIM-on-iPhone application--which AOL developed in just two weeks--offers a buddy list and lets users easily toggle among multiple instant-messaging conversations with a finger swipe.