The long-running rivalry between the green text bubbles on Android and the blue text bubbles on iOS will soon take a more amicable turn.
Apple revealed plans on Thursday to implement a messaging standard, undermining what some saw as a component of Apple’s walled garden and finally bringing iMessage features to Android users.
The tech website 9to5Mac was the first to report about the change, which will bring new features like read receipts, typing indicators, improved group chat support, and higher quality cross-platform media sharing of photos and videos.
In a statement, Apple informed CNN that it would be extending support for the RCS (Rich Communication Services) standard later in 2019. Short messaging services, or SMS, are thought to be replaced by RCS, which operates over mobile data and Wi-Fi.
The company stated in the statement that “we believe RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS.” “This will function in conjunction with iMessage, which will remain the greatest and safest messaging app for Apple users.”
The move was made in response to pressure from competitors and regulators to improve cross-platform compatibility. For instance, businesses are required by the Digital Markets Act of the European Union to ensure that their core services are compatible with various platforms. It started looking into whether it views iMessage as a core product earlier this year.
Google, meanwhile, has made it clear that it wants Apple to embrace the RCS standard. Google’s messaging app already supports the standard. The business claimed in a letter to the European Commission at the beginning of November that iMessage was in fact a fundamental Apple product and that compliance should be mandatory.
Google released a statement saying, “No matter what phone they have, everyone deserves to be able to communicate with each other in ways that are modern and secure.” We’re glad to see Apple take the first step toward embracing RCS today. We have been working closely with the mobile industry to speed up the adoption of RCS. We appreciate Apple’s involvement in our continued efforts with the GSMA to advance RCS and improve the security and equity of messaging, and we look forward to collaborating with them to bring this to iOS in a way that benefits all parties.
Apple has resisted this kind of connectivity over time. CEO Tim Cook responded, at a conference last year, when asked how Steve Jobs would feel about the current state of communication across platforms: “I don’t hear our users asking that we put a lot of energy in on that at this point.” “Get your mom an iPhone,” Cook said in response to an audience member who expressed frustration about not being able to share some videos with his non-iPhone owning mother.
Furthermore, the modification was made almost two months after Apple declared that the upcoming iPhone 15 would feature a USB-C universal charging interface for the first time. Less than a year had passed since the European Union decided to approve laws.
The change was made less than a year after the European Union decided to approve laws mandating that by 2024, digital cameras, smartphones, tablets, portable speakers, and other small devices support USB-C charging.
As per Michael Inouye, a principal analyst at ABI Research, Apple is anticipated to collaborate with the GSM Association, a nonprofit organization that serves mobile operators, to enhance RCS’s security via encryption and make it comparable, if not more so, than iMessage. This could prove to be advantageous for all users.