Technology

It’s not about green bubbles, Apple

Apple’s iMessage needs to start looking beyond the iPhone.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Apple’s iMessage has a well-documented history of separating people into files ‘blue’ and ‘green’ bubbles Depending on whether they use a file Iphone or Android phone. But this problem now is so much more than just looking great in our group chats.

Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal published a story detailing how this distinction between green and blue chat bubbles has caused social stress among teens and young adults. The blue-green bubble debate highlights a broader problem across the industry: There is no single, up-to-date text standard that works across all phones. Rich Communication Services, or RCS, is the closest alternative.

Google has been supporting this messaging platform, which is packed with iMessage-like features like typing indicators and read receipts, by working with carriers to make it the default on most Android phones. It’s a step forward in making messaging more consistent across a variety of Android devices out there. But it still does not fix the issue highlighted by the Journal of Improving iPhone and Android Compatibility.

As one of the biggest players in the mobile industry, Apple can undoubtedly do more to help create a more consistent texting experience across devices. But the question is whether doing so is in the company’s best interest. Apple often advertises its control of iOS as a selling point to consumers, and moving away from iMessage could put that at risk.

Apple has yet to respond to CNET’s request for comment, and Google directed us to a number of tweets from Hiroshi Lockheimer, its senior vice president of Android, in which he criticized Apple for using “pressure and bullying” to lock users out.

However, there are some changes that Apple could make to address this issue, similar to the way it brought a limited edition Experience FaceTime on Android and Windows Users in iOS 15.

RCS support in Apple’s Messages app, though for a bit

Starting with the most obvious, it might be time for Apple to consider support for RCS in iOS 16. In addition to RCS including many iMessage-like features like typing indicators, improved group chats, and encryption, Apple has a history of adopting open formats after They spent a few years developing.

for example, Apple hasn’t raced with wireless charging Instead I waited for the Qi standard to reach widespread adoption before incorporating it into the iPhone 8 and iPhone X in 2017. He had even intended to build his own Qi-based AirPower wireless charger, but instead delayed until 2020 to sell his own. MagSafe Wireless Chargers.

Apple doesn’t even have to give RCS a full endorsement to make a difference. It can keep non-iPhone messages green and rely on iPhone exclusive features such as Memoji, which uses the iPhone’s Face ID to create facial animations, to keep Apple loyalists hooked. But supporting some key features will go a long way in allowing for a smoother calling experience while maintaining a degree of Apple exclusivity.

It could also allow for encryption between messages regardless of platform, especially since Apple has been a general advocate of user privacy. This may be the reason why this alone should make the company adopt the Remote Control System (RCS).

Improve how the Apple Messages app sends and receives SMS

confetti-message

Apple iMessage includes plenty of fun animations that aren’t visible to anyone who isn’t using an iPhone in your group chat.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

If RCS support simply won’t happen in iOS, Apple can instead make sure that its Messages app makes the most of the limited bandwidth available in SMS and MMS.

Perhaps when photos and videos are sent via MMS, which was never designed for dual and triple lens cameras on the phones we have today, Apple’s Messages app can proactively suggest sending an iCloud link instead of a grungy compressed image that now looks unrecognizable . This can work similar to a feature currently found in Google Photos, where you can select a number of photos and create a web link to share with your friends or family members.

And perhaps, similar to how Apple recently brought a version of FaceTime to the web for Android and Windows users, it could possibly create a version of iMessage that can be viewed on the web. This could benefit existing iPhone customers who want to access iMessage from a Windows PC or Chromebook, while also allowing Android phone owners to view messages and other shared content the same way an iPhone user would. This idea will still be annoying for Android users, but it’s better than receiving out-of-order texts during fast-flowing group chats.

Build iMessage for Android

One of the most surprising discoveries of the past year Apple vs. Epic beta is that Apple actually discussed building an iMessage client for Android in 2013. But Apple executives moved the idea over concerns about competition. The possibility of Google buying WhatsApp has alarmed Apple, and the company also fears that introducing iMessage to Android could make it easier for iPhone owners to switch to Google’s phone platform, the WSJ story pointed out.

But a lot has changed in the years since, including Facebook buying WhatsApp instead of Google. Although Apple has unlocked some of its products like FaceTime, it also relies on its services to lock iPhone customers.

On the other hand, introducing iMessage to Android instead could attract more customers to Apple’s iPhone ecosystem. This strategy worked in the 2000s, when the launch of iTunes on Windows greatly increased the customer base for the Apple Music Store. Sure, it might convince some iPhone customers to jump ship and Switch to Android. But it can also help Apple reach a wider audience by exposing Android users to its products and services.

What do you think of green iMessage bubbles? Do you want RCS to come to the iPhone? Or would you rather just everyone you know use iMessage? Talk about it in the comments.

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