Ask any Android consumer to call an Apple app that they’d wish to have on their Galaxy or Pixel telephone and the reply will virtually universally be the identical: iMessage. And the probably cause behind that reply? Green bubbles.
While Android customers do not know whether or not the individual they’re texting with has an iPhone, Android, or a Windows Phone, Apple makes it very clear what gadget you and your mates are utilizing. Messages from iPhone customers are wrapped in serene blue bubbles whereas everybody else’s bubbles are coloured in a garish inexperienced hue.
And we Android customers would love for that to alter. Not solely are we uninterested in our iPhone-loving pals chiding us for ruining group messages, however we’d additionally wish to see what all the fuss is about. We’re nonetheless ready for a do-it-all messaging app on Android, and an Apple consumer is definitely intriguing, particularly for these of use nonetheless lamenting the lack of Allo. I’m keen to wager that if Apple had been to launch an iMessage Android consumer within the Play Store, it might shortly develop into one of the vital downloaded messaging apps, difficult Google’s personal Messages, WhatsApp and Signal, at the very least at launch.
It’s a pleasant dream, however it’s by no means going to occur. It doesn’t matter what number of tweets, Medium posts, or op-eds are written about it, Apple isn’t going to launch iMessage for something that isn’t an Apple gadget.
Blue with envy
When Apple launched iMessage as a part of iOS 5 in 2011, it was one thing like BlackBerry Messenger for iOS customers. Apple described at as “a new messaging service that lets you easily send text messages, photos and videos between all iOS 5 users,” and it actually was that straightforward: Turn it on and you could possibly chat with your mates over Wi-Fi or mobile with out going by your service. Messages arrived immediately, indicators confirmed when folks had been responding, and Read Receipts let you recognize when somebody seen your message.
Some eight years later, iMessage is arguably probably the most broadly used messaging service on this planet. It’s on Macs and Apple Watches, in addition to a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of iOS gadgets. Stickers and display results can boost any dialog. And you’ll be able to ship audio messages as an animated pile of poo.
What hasn’t modified are these shiny inexperienced bubbles. As iMessage has grown in recognition, the inexperienced bubbles have develop into increasingly of a nuisance, so when an Android consumer joins a gaggle dialog, it spoils the get together for everybody, turning the entire group inexperienced and sullying the iMessage expertise.
Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin shared an anecdote final week a couple of 16-year-old switcher who stated he gave up his Pixel 2 particularly due to the inexperienced bubbles. As he defined, he was uninterested in being unnoticed of group messages resulting from his inexperienced standing. And it’s not simply high-schoolers: According to the New York Post, it’s gotten so unhealthy that some iPhone customers won’t even consider dating somebody that doesn’t textual content on blue bubbles.
Granted, that’s a small pattern measurement and it’s simply as simple to seek out individuals who aren’t so shallow, but when there’s one takeaway, it’s that folks do care about their standing. That’s not an accident. Apple differentiates iMessages from SMS messages with such starkly completely different colours for a cause: to point out which of your mates have the great style to purchase an Apple gadget.
The numbers don’t add up
If inclusion in a particular blue-bubble membership isn’t cause sufficient for Apple to maintain iMessage locked to iOS, then take into account the calculus of it: Apple made greater than $30 billion promoting iOS gadgets final quarter alone in addition to one other $11.5 billion in companies, the overwhelming majority of that are tied to these very Apple gadgets.
Granted, an iMessage app for Android would virtually definitely be a paid service, however the numbers nonetheless don’t add up. Even if Apple may efficiently cost $10 a month for an cross-platform iMessage service—no small feat when WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Android Messages are all free—it might have to wrack up critical numbers to offset the inevitable lack of iPhone customers.
Some fast math: if 10,000,000 folks join iMessage at $10 a month, that might usher in $300 million per quarter. Assuming a median promoting worth of roughly $750, that’s equal to about 400,000 iPhones, or lower than one p.c of quarterly gross sales. So if iPhone gross sales drop by a couple of p.c following the launch of iMessage for Android—a fairly probably consequence based mostly on the anecdotes above—then Apple would really be shedding cash.
The Apple Music experiment
But even if you wish to overlook the lock-in and the revenue and nonetheless maintain out hope that Apple will shock the world and unveil an iMessage app for Android at some point, there’s another reason why it’ll by no means occur: Apple Music.
Now you would possibly take Apple Music’s existence on Android as a cause why Apple would develop iMessage for Android, however I see it in a different way. Apple Music for Android has someplace between 10 million and 50 million downloads, which looks like a reasonably large quantity. But when you think about that Deezer and YouTube Music have greater than 100 million downloads apiece and Spotify has topped 500 million downloads by itself, it offers Apple Music’s recognition a bit extra perspective. Plus, it solely has a three-and-a-half star score.
Of course, Apple Music isn’t iMessage, however it stands to cause that Apple apps simply aren’t all that standard on Android. Apple could be giving up one of many iPhone’s largest benefits and certain shedding cash for an app that might in all probability lag behind its friends within the Play Store. And whereas Android may definitely use a messaging service like Apple’s that really works, there’s no assure that it might be as seamless and instantaneous on Android telephones as it’s on Apple’s gadgets. Features could be undoubtedly be held again, updates could be gradual to reach, and in the end it in all probability wouldn’t be any higher than Allo or any of the opposite messaging app that got here and went—besides to maintain your iPhone pals’ chats blue.
I feel it’s secure to say that Apple’s iMessage will keep locked to iOS for As lengthy because the iPhone is a factor Apple sells. Even if the app is annoyingly coloured in Android inexperienced.