It is not concerning the inexperienced bubbles, Apple

Apple's iMessage green bubble issues are an outdated problem, and it's time to fix it

Apple’s iMessage wants to begin wanting past the iPhone.


Jason Cipriani/CNET

Apple’s iMessage has a well-documented historical past of separating folks into “blue” and “inexperienced” bubbles based mostly on whether or not they’re utilizing an iPhone or Android telephone. However that downside is now far larger than simply wanting cool in our group chats.

Over the weekend, The Wall Road Journal revealed a narrative detailing how this distinction between inexperienced and blue chat bubbles has induced social strain amongst teenagers and younger folks. The blue and inexperienced bubble debate highlights a broader downside all through the trade: There isn’t a single, trendy texting normal that works throughout all telephones. Wealthy Communication Companies, or RCS, is the closest different. 

Google has been championing this messaging platform, which is filled with iMessage-like options comparable to typing indicators and skim receipts, by working with carriers to make it the default choice on most Android telephones. It is a step ahead in making messaging extra uniform throughout the big variety of Android units that exist. However it nonetheless does not repair the difficulty highlighted by the Journal of enhancing compatibility between the iPhone and Android telephones.

As one of many greatest gamers within the cell phone trade, Apple may undoubtedly be doing extra to assist set up a extra constant texting expertise throughout units. However 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 various tweets from Hiroshi Lockheimer, its senior vp for Android, during which he criticizes Apple for utilizing “strain and bullying” to lock in customers. 

Nevertheless, there are a couple of modifications Apple may make to handle this difficulty, much like the way in which it introduced a restricted FaceTime expertise to Android and Home windows customers in iOS 15.

Supporting RCS in Apple’s Messages app, even a bit of bit

Beginning with the obvious, it might be time for Apple to think about RCS help in iOS 16. Along with 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 growing. 

As an illustration, Apple didn’t race into the wi-fi charging house 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 meant 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 present RCS a full endorsement to make a distinction. It may 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. However supporting a couple of key options would go a great distance in permitting for a smoother communication expertise whereas retaining 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 motive that this alone ought to have the corporate embracing RCS. 

Enhance how Apple’s Messages app sends and receives SMS

confetti-imessage

Apple’s iMessage consists of plenty 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 a substitute be certain that its Messages app is benefiting from the restricted bandwidth accessible inside SMS and MMS. 

Maybe when images and movies are despatched over MMS, which was by no means designed for the double- and triple-lens cameras on telephones now we have at present, Apple’s Messages app may proactively counsel sending an iCloud hyperlink as a substitute of a grungy compressed image that now seems to be unrecognizable. This might work equally to a characteristic that is at the moment in Google Photographs, the place you possibly can choose various images and generate an internet 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 Home windows customers, possibly it may create a model of iMessage that’s viewable on the internet. This might profit its current iPhone prospects who wish to entry iMessage from a Home windows PC or Chromebook, whereas additionally permitting Android telephone 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, nevertheless it’s higher than receiving texts out of order throughout fast-flowing group chats. 

Construct iMessage for Android

Probably the most shocking revelations from final yr’s Apple vs. Epic trial was that Apple did certainly talk about constructing an iMessage shopper for Android again in 2013. However Apple executives handed on the concept over issues concerning the competitors. The potential of Google shopping for WhatsApp anxious 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. 

However a lot has modified within the years since, together with Fb’s buy of WhatsApp as a substitute of Google. Though Apple has opened up a few of its merchandise like FaceTime, it additionally depends on its providers to lock in iPhone prospects.

However, bringing iMessage to Android may as a substitute draw extra prospects to Apple’s iPhone ecosystem. It is a technique that labored means again within the 2000s, when launching iTunes on Home windows significantly elevated the shopper base for Apple’s music retailer. Positive, it’d persuade some iPhone prospects to leap ship and swap to Android. However 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 quite everybody you recognize simply use iMessage? Speak about it within the feedback.



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