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    Apple’s iMessage Should Work Better With Other Phones

    Apple’s iMessage is getting a serious overhaul later this 12 months with iOS 16, however most of those new options, like unsending a message or modifying a textual content, will solely work if the particular person you’re texting additionally has an iPhone. Since Apple has full management over its messaging platform, iPhone homeowners get a constant expertise that works effectively whatever the provider or particular iPhone mannequin. But it is also inadvertently created an extended historical past of separating folks into “blue” and “green” bubbles based mostly on whether or not they’re utilizing an iPhone or Android cellphone. Apple additionally depends on the dated MMS commonplace for non-iMessage group chats, which leads to a scarcity of assist for contemporary options like learn receipts and higher-quality pictures.While social pressures amongst those who do and don’t present up as a blue bubble have been steadily documented, reminiscent of in the Wall Street Journal amongst teenagers and younger folks, the a lot larger situation revolves round common communication. There isn’t any single, fashionable texting commonplace that works throughout all telephones. Rich Communication Services, or RCS, is the closest various that doubtlessly would not require putting in one more chat app. While RCS itself is an open commonplace, the commonest means persons are utilizing it’s inside Google’s Messages app on Android telephones. Google reported at this 12 months’s I/O developer convention in May that Google Messages has a half billion month-to-month lively customers. The firm’s funding in each the RCS commonplace and its Messages app comes after an extended historical past of launching proprietary texting apps that didn’t acquire the notoriety of iMessage or Meta’s WhatsApp. Google is continuous this proprietary texting technique alongside its RCS funding, most just lately by shutting down its Hangouts app and migrating customers into the Google Chat app as a substitute.RCS helps many iMessage-like options reminiscent of typing indicators and skim receipts. But its rollout has been fragmented as US cellphone carriers every individually introduced plans to make RCS the default choice on most Android telephones. While RCS is not at present interoperable with iOS, Google has constructed cross-platform message reactions into its texting app to enhance how texts from an iPhone seem inside Android. Other options which might be already in iMessage, reminiscent of group chat encryption, are nonetheless in growth for RCS and Google’s Messages app. 

    The RCS commonplace is a step ahead in making messaging extra uniform throughout the wide range of Android gadgets that exist. But with out iOS adoption, its influence on the standard of messaging between Android and that iPhones stays restricted. As one of many largest gamers within the cell phone business, Apple might make an even bigger effort to ascertain a extra constant texting expertise throughout gadgets. 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 customers, and shifting away from iMessage might jeopardize that. 

    Apple didn’t reply to CNET’s request for remark. When this commentary was initially printed, Google pointed CNET to a sequence of tweets from Hiroshi Lockheimer, its senior vice chairman for Android. Lockheimer criticizes Apple for utilizing “pressure and bullying” to lock in customers within the tweets. 

    Apple’s iMessage lock-in is a documented technique. Using peer stress and bullying as a strategy to promote merchandise is disingenuous for a corporation that has humanity and fairness as a core a part of its advertising. The requirements exist as we speak to repair this. https://t.co/MiQqMUOrgn— Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) January 8, 2022

    We’re not asking Apple to make iMessage out there 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 just a few modifications Apple might make to deal with this situation, much like the way in which it introduced a restricted FaceTime expertise to Android and Windows customers in iOS 15.Supporting RCS in Apple’s Messages app, even just a little bitApple ought to think about bringing RCS assist to iOS 16. Apple has a historical past of adopting open codecs after they’ve spent just a few years creating, and RCS already consists of many iMessage-like options reminiscent of typing indicators, enhanced group chats and encryption.For occasion, Apple didn’t race into the wi-fi charging house and as a substitute waited for the Qi commonplace to achieve widespread adoption earlier than integrating it into the iPhone 8 and iPhone X in 2017. It even supposed to construct its personal Qi-based AirPower wi-fi charger, however as a substitute held again till 2020 to promote its personal MagSafe wi-fi chargers.Apple would not even have to provide RCS a full endorsement to make a distinction. It might maintain 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 just a few key options would go a good distance in permitting for a smoother communication expertise whereas conserving a level of Apple exclusivity.Apple might additionally assist encryption between messages whatever the platform, particularly because the firm positions itself as a client privateness advocate. One would purpose that this alone needs to be sufficient for Apple to embrace RCS. 

    iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini digicam testing: See how Apple’s new telephones take pictures

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    Improve how Apple’s Messages app sends and receives SMSApple’s iMessage consists of a lot of enjoyable animations which might be invisible to anybody who is not utilizing an iPhone in your group chat.
    Jason Cipriani/CNET
    If supporting RCS is solely not going to occur in iOS, Apple might as a substitute profit from the restricted bandwidth out there inside SMS and MMS. Apple is doing this for at the very least one characteristic within the iOS 16 public beta. Within group chats which might be being dealt with over MMS, Apple’s Messages app will translate reactions so everybody receives an emoji as a substitute of a textual content about how somebody “Liked” or “Loved” a message. Google’s Messages app has comparable performance. Perhaps when pictures and movies are despatched over MMS, which was by no means designed for the multi-lens cameras on fashionable telephones, Apple’s Messages app might proactively counsel sending an iCloud hyperlink as a substitute of a grungy compressed image. This might work equally to a characteristic at present out there in Google Photos that enables customers to pick a number of pictures and generate an internet hyperlink to share with your pals or members of the family. And, much like how Apple just lately introduced a model of FaceTime to the online for Android and Windows customers, possibly it might create a model of iMessage that’s viewable on the net. This may gain advantage its present iPhone prospects who wish to entry iMessage from a Windows PC or Chromebook, whereas additionally permitting Android cellphone homeowners to view messages and different shared content material the identical means an iPhone consumer would. This concept would nonetheless be annoying for Android customers, however it’s higher than receiving texts out of order throughout fast-flowing group chats. Build iMessage for AndroidOne of essentially the most shocking revelations from final 12 months’s Apple v. Epic trial was that Apple had mentioned constructing an iMessage consumer for Android again in 2013. But Apple executives handed on the concept over issues concerning the competitors. The chance of Google shopping for WhatsApp fearful Apple, and the corporate additionally feared that bringing iMessage to Android might make it simpler for iPhone homeowners to change to Google’s cellphone platform, because the WSJ story identified. But a lot has modified within the years since, together with Facebook’s buy of WhatsApp as a substitute of Google. Although Apple has opened up a few of its merchandise like FaceTime, it additionally depends on its providers to lock in iPhone prospects.On the opposite hand, bringing iMessage to Android might as a substitute draw extra prospects to Apple’s iPhone ecosystem. It’s a method that labored means again within the 2000s, when launching iTunes on Windows significantly elevated the shopper base for Apple’s music retailer. Sure, it would persuade some iPhone prospects to leap ship and swap to Android. But it might additionally assist Apple attain a wider viewers by exposing Android customers to its services.

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