It’s time to fix Apple’s iMessage green bubble issues

    Apple’s iMessage wants to begin trying past the iPhone.
    Jason Cipriani/CNET
    Apple’s iMessage has a well-documented historical past of separating individuals into “blue” and “green” bubbles based mostly on whether or not they’re utilizing an iPhone or Android telephone. But that downside is now far larger than simply trying cool in our group chats.Over the weekend, The Wall Street Journal printed a narrative detailing how this distinction between inexperienced and blue chat bubbles has prompted social stress amongst teenagers and younger individuals. The blue and inexperienced bubble debate highlights a broader downside all through the trade: There isn’t any single, trendy texting normal 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 full of iMessage-like options similar 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 wide range of Android gadgets that exist. But it nonetheless does not repair the difficulty highlighted by the Journal of enhancing compatibility between the iPhone and Android telephones.As one of many largest gamers within the cell phone trade, Apple may undoubtedly be doing extra to assist set up 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 may jeopardize that. 
    Apple has not but responded to CNET’s request for remark, and Google pointed us to a lot of tweets from Hiroshi Lockheimer, its senior vice chairman for Android, during 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 approach to promote merchandise is disingenuous for a corporation that has humanity and fairness as a core a part of its advertising and marketing. The requirements exist right this 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 trade normal 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 may make to deal with this problem, 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 a bit of bitStarting with the obvious, it might be time for Apple to contemplate 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 just a few years creating. For occasion, Apple didn’t race into the wi-fi charging area and as a substitute waited for the Qi normal to succeed in 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 does not even have to provide RCS a full endorsement to make a distinction. It may preserve 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 protecting a level of that Apple exclusivity.It may additionally enable for encryption between messages no matter platform, particularly since Apple has been a public defender of consumer privateness. One would cause that this alone ought to have the corporate embracing RCS. 
    iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini digital camera 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 contains a lot 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 solely not going to occur in iOS, Apple may as a substitute be sure that its Messages app is benefiting from the restricted bandwidth accessible inside SMS and MMS. Perhaps when pictures and movies are despatched over MMS, which was by no means designed for the double- and triple-lens cameras on telephones we’ve got right this moment, Apple’s Messages app may proactively recommend sending an iCloud hyperlink as a substitute of a grungy compressed image that now appears unrecognizable. This may work equally to a function that is presently in Google Photos, the place you may choose a lot of pictures and generate an online hyperlink to share with your folks or members of the family. And maybe, much like how Apple just lately introduced a model of FaceTime to the net 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 want 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 manner an iPhone consumer would. This thought would nonetheless be annoying for Android customers, but it surely’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 concerning the competitors. The risk of Google shopping for WhatsApp apprehensive Apple, and the corporate additionally feared that bringing iMessage to Android may make it simpler for iPhone homeowners to change 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 a substitute of Google. Although Apple has opened up a few of its merchandise like FaceTime, it additionally depends on its companies to lock in iPhone clients.On the opposite hand, bringing iMessage to Android may as a substitute draw extra clients to Apple’s iPhone ecosystem. It’s a technique that labored manner 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 change 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 return to the iPhone? Or would you somewhat everybody you realize simply use iMessage? Talk about it within the feedback.

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