Apple’s iMessage is getting a major overhaul later this yearbut most of these new features, like it will only work if the person you’re messaging also has an iPhone.
Because Apple has full control over its messaging platform, iPhone owners get a consistent experience that works well regardless of carrier or specific iPhone model. But it also inadvertently created a long history of separating peoplebased on whether they use or telephone. Apple also relies on the outdated MMS standard for non-iMessage group chats, resulting in a lack of support for modern features like read receipts and higher-quality images.
While societal pressures among those who do and do not appear as a blue bubble have been often documented, such as in the Wall Street Journal among teenagers and young adults, a much larger issue revolves around universal communication. There is no single, modern standard for texting that works on all phones.is the closest alternative that would potentially not require you to install yet another chat app.
While RCS itself is an open standard, the most common way people use it is within Google’s Messages app on Android phones. Google made the announcement at this year’s I/O developer conference in May. The company’s investment in the RCS standard and the Messages application comes after a long history messaging apps that haven’t gained notoriety like iMessage or . Google continues this proprietary messaging strategy along with its RCS investment, the latest shutdown and migrating users to the Google Chat app instead.
RCS supports many iMessage-like features such as typing indicators and read receipts. But its rollout has been fragmented as US phone carriers have each separately announced plans to make RCS the default option on most Android phones. Although RCS is not currently interoperable with iOS, Google has made itinto your messaging app to improve the way iPhone texts appear inside Android. Other features already in iMessage, such as group chat encryption, are still in development for RCS and Google’s Messages app.
The RCS standard is a step forward in standardizing messaging across the wide range of Android devices out there. But without iOS adoption, its impact on the quality of messaging between Android and iPhone remains limited.
As one of the biggest players in the mobile phone industry, Apple could make a bigger effort to establish a more consistent messaging experience across devices. But the question is whether it is in the interest of the company. Apple often touts its control over iOS as a selling point for consumers, and moving away from iMessage could threaten that.
Apple did not respond to CNET’s request for comment. When this comment was originally published, Google pointed CNET to a series of tweets from Hiroshi Lockheimer, its senior vice president of Android. Lockheimer criticizes Apple for using “pressure and bullying” to lock users into tweets.
However, there are a few changes that Apple could make to fix this problem, similar to how it introduced the limitusers on iOS 15.
It supports RCS in Apple’s Messages app, even a little
Apple should consider introducing RCS support in iOS 16. Apple has a history of adopting open formats after spending several years in development, and RCS already includes many iMessage-like features such as typing indicators, improved group chats, and encryption.
For example,and instead waited for the Qi standard to reach widespread adoption before integrating it into the iPhone 8 and iPhone X in 2017. It even intended to build its own Qi-based AirPower wireless charger, but instead held off until 2020 as would sell his own .
Apple doesn’t even have to give RCS full support to make a difference. It could keep non-iPhone green messages and rely on exclusive iPhone features like, which uses the iPhone’s Face ID to create facial animations to appeal to Apple loyalists. But support for a few key features would go a long way toward making communication smoother while maintaining a certain degree of Apple exclusivity.
Apple could also support encryption between messages regardless of platform, especially since the company positions itself as an advocate for consumer privacy. One might conclude that this alone should be enough for Apple to accept RCS.
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Improve how Apple’s Messages app sends and receives SMS
If RCS support simply isn’t going to happen in iOS, Apple could instead make the most of the limited bandwidth available within SMS and MMS.
Apple is doing this for at least one feature in the iOS 16 public beta. Within group chats conducted via MMS, Apple’sso everyone gets an emoji instead of text about how someone “Liked” or “Loved” a message. Google’s Messages app has similar functionality.
Perhaps when photos and videos are sent via MMS, which was never designed for the multi-lens cameras on modern phones, Apple’s Messages app could proactively suggest sending an iCloud link instead of a crudely compressed image. This could work similar to the feature currently available in Google Photos that allows users to select multiple photos and generate a web link to share with your friends or family members.
And, much like Apple recently brought a version of FaceTime to the web for Android and Windows users, it might be able to create a web-viewable version of iMessage. This could benefit existing iPhone users who would like to access iMessage from a Windows PC or Chromebook, while also allowing Android phone owners to view messages and other shared content the same way iPhone users would. -a. This idea would still be annoying for Android users, but it’s better than receiving random texts during a quick group chat.
Make iMessage for Android
One of the most surprising discoveries of last yearis that back in 2013, Apple discussed building an iMessage client for Android. But Apple executives shelved the idea due to concerns about competition. The prospect of Google buying WhatsApp worried Apple, and the company also feared that bringing iMessage to Android could make it easier for iPhone owners to switch to Google’s phone platform, as the WSJ story pointed out.
But a lot has changed in the years since, including Facebook buying WhatsApp instead of Google. While Apple has opened up some of its products like FaceTime, it also relies on its services to lock in iPhone users.
On the other hand, bringing iMessage to Android could instead attract more customers to Apple’s iPhone ecosystem. It’s a strategy that worked back in the 2000s, when it was launchedgreatly increased the customer base for Apple’s music store. Of course, that might convince some iPhone buyers to jump on board and . But it could also help Apple reach a wider audience by exposing Android users to its products and services.