Apple iMessage should improve text messaging to Android and other phones

Apple’s iMessage will get an overhaul later this year with iOS 16but most of these are new features, such as Unsend a message or edit a textIt will only work if the person you’re texting also has an iPhone.

Since Apple has complete control over its messaging system, iPhone owners get a consistent experience that works well regardless of the specific carrier or iPhone model. But it also inadvertently created a long history of separating people into ‘blue’ and ‘green’ bubbles Depending on whether they use a file Iphone or Android phone. Apple also relies on the old MMS standard for group chats other than iMessage, which results in a lack of support for modern features like read receipts and high-quality photos.

While social pressures among those who do and do not appear as a blue bubble have been documented, as in the Wall Street Journal among teens and young adults, the larger issue is around global communication. There is no single modern script standard that works across all phones. Rich Communication Services, or RCSis the closest possible alternative that does not require the installation of another chat app.

While RCS itself is an open standard, the most popular way to use it is from within the Google Messages app on Android phones. Google stated at this year’s I/O Developer Conference in May that Google Messages has half a billion monthly active users. The company’s investment in both the RCS standard and messaging application comes after a long history of release proprietary Text messaging apps that haven’t gained popularity with iMessage or Meta WhatsApp. Google continues this proprietary texting strategy along with its investment in RCS, which was recently shut down. Hangouts app and migrate users to the Google Chat app instead.

The Remote Control System (RCS) supports many iMessage-like features such as write indicators and read receipts. But its rollout has been fragmented as both US phone companies have separately announced plans to make RCS the default on most Android phones. Although RCS is not currently interoperable with iOS, Google has built Cross-platform message feedback In the texting app to improve how texts from iPhone appear within Android. Other features already in iMessage, such as group chat encryption, are still in development for RCS and the Google Messages app.

The RCS standard is a step forward in making messaging more consistent across a variety of existing Android devices. 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 industry, Apple could go the extra mile to create a more consistent texting experience across devices. But the question is whether doing so is in the company’s best interest. Apple often advertises its control of iOS as a selling point to consumers, and moving away from iMessage could put that at risk.

Apple did not respond to CNET’s request for comment. When this comment was originally posted, Google directed CNET to a thread of tweets from Hiroshi Lockheimer, its senior vice president of Android. Lockheimer criticizes Apple for using “pressure and bullying” to lock up users in tweets.

However, there are some changes that Apple could make to address this issue, similar to how it brought a limited edition Experience FaceTime on Android and Windows Users in iOS 15.

RCS support in Apple’s Messages app, though for a bit

Apple should consider introducing RCS support for iOS 16. Apple has a history of adopting open formats after spending a few years in development, and RCS already includes many iMessage-like features like typing indicators, improved group chats, and encryption.

for example, Apple hasn’t raced with wireless charging Instead, it waited for the Qi standard to reach widespread adoption before incorporating it into the iPhone 8 and iPhone X in 2017. It even had intended to build its own Qi-based AirPower wireless charger, but instead delayed it until 2020 to sell it. MagSafe Wireless Chargers.

Apple doesn’t even have to give RCS a full endorsement to make a difference. It can keep non-iPhone messages green and rely on iPhone exclusive features such as Memoji, which uses the iPhone’s Face ID to create facial animations, to keep Apple loyalists hooked. But supporting some key features will go a long way in allowing for a smoother calling experience while maintaining a degree of Apple exclusivity.

Apple could also support encryption between messages regardless of platform, especially as the company positions itself as an advocate for consumer privacy. That may be why this alone should be enough for Apple to adopt RCS.

Improve how the Apple Messages app sends and receives SMS

Apple iMessage includes plenty of fun animations that aren’t visible to anyone who isn’t using an iPhone in your group chat.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

If RCS support simply won’t happen in iOS, Apple can instead make the most of the limited bandwidth available in SMS and MMS.

Apple is doing this for at least one feature in the iOS 16 public beta. Within group chats handled via MMS, Apple’s service The messaging app will translate the reactions So everyone receives an emoji instead of a text about how they “like” or “love” a message. The Google Messages app has similar functionality.

Perhaps when photos and videos are sent via MMS, which was never designed for multi-lens cameras on modern phones, Apple’s Messages app can proactively suggest sending an iCloud link instead of a zip image. This can work similar to a feature currently available in Google Photos that allows users to select multiple photos and create a web link to share with your friends or family members.

Similar to how Apple recently brought a version of FaceTime to the web for Android and Windows users, it could possibly create a version of iMessage that can be viewed on the web. This could benefit existing iPhone customers who want 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 an iPhone user would. This idea will still be annoying for Android users, but it’s better than receiving out-of-order texts during fast-flowing group chats.

Build iMessage for Android

One of the most surprising discoveries of the past year Apple vs. Epic Trial Apple had discussed building an iMessage client for Android in 2013. But Apple executives moved the idea over due to competition concerns. The prospect of Google buying WhatsApp has alarmed Apple, and the company also fears that introducing 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. Although Apple has unlocked some of its products like FaceTime, it also relies on its services to lock iPhone customers.

On the other hand, introducing iMessage to Android instead might attract more customers to Apple’s iPhone ecosystem. This strategy worked well in the 2000s, when it was launched iTunes on Windows Significant increase in customer base for Apple Music Store. Sure, it might convince some iPhone customers to jump ship and Switch to Android. But it can also help Apple reach a wider audience by exposing Android users to its products and services.

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