TUAW is reporting that developer John Heaton has discovered some code in the latest iOS release that suggests OS X’s iChat functionality could soon be coming to the mobile platform. The code reflects popular chat services like Jabber and AIM though there is no particular mention of iChat. However, the source claims that these strings aren’t yet included in any of existing iOS apps making the discovery even more intriguing.
Citing from the source:
The code mentions various chat services like Jabber and AIM, and while it doesn’t specifically mention iChat, there’s certainly some strings in there that aren’t yet included in any of Apple’s standard apps.
We’ve heard rumors of something like this before — the revamped iMessage in iOS 5 is essentially iChat for iOS, though it still doesn’t directly connect to the IM services mentioned in this code. Apple may not bother calling it iChat, but it’s clear that at some point, the company was at least testing more functionality on mobile.
It is worth noting that support for AIM and Jabber could easily be incorporated inside iMessage in iOS instead of a separate iChat app. Similarly, Apple could easily replace iChat on OS X with iMessage / FaceTime apps. What eventually happens, only time will tell!