Apple’s iMessage green bubble issues are an outdated problem, and it’s time to fix it

    Apple’s iMessage wants to start out wanting past the iPhone.
    Jason Cipriani/CNET
    Apple’s iMessage has a well-documented historical past of separating folks into “blue” and “green” bubbles primarily based on whether or not they’re utilizing an iPhone or Android telephone. But that drawback is now far greater than simply wanting cool in our group chats.Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal revealed a narrative detailing how this distinction between inexperienced and blue chat bubbles has prompted social stress amongst teenagers and younger folks. The blue and inexperienced bubble debate highlights a broader drawback all through the business: There isn’t any single, fashionable texting commonplace that works throughout all telephones. Rich Communication Services, or RCS, is the closest different. 

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    Google has been championing this messaging platform, which is filled with iMessage-like options comparable to typing indicators and browse receipts, by working with carriers to make it the default possibility on most Android telephones. It’s a step ahead in making messaging extra uniform throughout the big variety of Android units that exist. But it nonetheless does not repair the problem highlighted by the Journal of bettering compatibility between the iPhone and Android telephones.As one of many greatest gamers within the cell phone business, Apple may undoubtedly be doing extra to assist set up a extra constant texting expertise throughout units. But the query is whether or not doing so is within the firm’s curiosity. Apple usually touts its management over iOS as a promoting level for shoppers, and shifting away from iMessage may jeopardize that. 
    Apple has not but responded to CNET’s request for remark, and Google pointed us to numerous tweets from Hiroshi Lockheimer, its senior vice chairman for Android, through which he criticizes Apple for utilizing “pressure and bullying” to lock in customers. 

    Apple’s iMessage lock-in is a documented technique. Using peer stress and bullying as a method to promote merchandise is disingenuous for an organization that has humanity and fairness as a core a part of its advertising. The requirements exist at the moment to repair this.— Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) January 8, 2022

    We’re not asking Apple to make iMessage accessible on Android. We’re asking Apple to assist the business commonplace for contemporary messaging (RCS) in iMessage, simply as they assist the older SMS / MMS requirements.— Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) January 10, 2022

    However, there are a couple of modifications Apple may make to handle this concern, much like the best way it introduced a restricted FaceTime expertise to Android and Windows customers in iOS 15.Supporting RCS in Apple’s Messages app, even somewhat bitStarting with the obvious, it could be time for Apple to think about RCS assist in iOS 16. In addition to RCS together with many iMessage-like options like typing indicators, enhanced group chats and encryption, Apple does have a historical past of adopting open codecs after they’ve spent a couple of years creating. For occasion, Apple didn’t race into the wi-fi charging house and as an alternative waited for the Qi commonplace to succeed in widespread adoption earlier than integrating it into the iPhone 8 and iPhone X in 2017. It even meant to construct its personal Qi-based AirPower wi-fi charger, however as an alternative held again till 2020 to promote its personal MagSafe wi-fi chargers.Apple does not even have to provide RCS a full endorsement to make a distinction. It may hold non-iPhone messages inexperienced and lean on iPhone-exclusive options like Memoji, which makes use of the iPhone’s Face ID to create facial animations, to maintain Apple loyalists hooked. But supporting a couple of key options would go a good distance in permitting for a smoother communication expertise whereas maintaining a level of that Apple exclusivity.It may additionally permit for encryption between messages no matter platform, particularly since Apple has been a public defender of consumer privateness. One would purpose that this alone ought to have the corporate embracing RCS. 
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    Improve how Apple’s Messages app sends and receives SMSApple’s iMessage contains a number of enjoyable animations which can be invisible to anybody who is not utilizing an iPhone in your group chat.
    Jason Cipriani/CNET
    If supporting RCS is just not going to occur in iOS, Apple may as an alternative be certain its Messages app is taking advantage of the restricted bandwidth accessible inside SMS and MMS. Perhaps when photographs and movies are despatched over MMS, which was by no means designed for the double- and triple-lens cameras on telephones we now have at the moment, Apple’s Messages app may proactively recommend sending an iCloud hyperlink as an alternative of a grungy compressed image that now appears to be like unrecognizable. This may work equally to a characteristic that is at the moment in Google Photos, the place you possibly can choose numerous photographs and generate an online hyperlink to share with your mates or members of the family. And maybe, much like how Apple just lately introduced a model of FaceTime to the online for Android and Windows customers, perhaps it may create a model of iMessage that’s viewable on the internet. This may gain advantage its present iPhone clients who wish to entry iMessage from a Windows PC or Chromebook, whereas additionally permitting Android telephone homeowners to view messages and different shared content material the identical approach an iPhone consumer would. This thought would nonetheless be annoying for Android customers, nevertheless it’s higher than receiving texts out of order throughout fast-flowing group chats. 

    Build iMessage for AndroidOne of probably the most stunning revelations from final 12 months’s Apple vs. Epic trial was that Apple did certainly focus on constructing an iMessage shopper for Android again in 2013. But Apple executives handed on the concept over considerations in regards to the competitors. The chance of Google shopping for WhatsApp fearful Apple, and the corporate additionally feared that bringing iMessage to Android may make it simpler for iPhone homeowners to modify to Google’s telephone platform, because the WSJ story identified. But a lot has modified within the years since, together with Facebook’s buy of WhatsApp as an alternative of Google. Although Apple has opened up a few of its merchandise like FaceTime, it additionally depends on its providers to lock in iPhone clients.On the opposite hand, bringing iMessage to Android may as an alternative draw extra clients to Apple’s iPhone ecosystem. It’s a technique that labored approach again within the 2000s, when launching iTunes on Windows significantly elevated the client base for Apple’s music retailer. Sure, it’d persuade some iPhone clients to leap ship and swap to Android. But it may additionally assist Apple attain a wider viewers by exposing Android customers to its services.What do you consider iMessage’s inexperienced bubbles? Would you need RCS to come back to the iPhone? Or would you reasonably everybody you recognize simply use iMessage? Talk about it within the feedback.

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