Apple Reportedly in Talks to Support RCS Messaging, Pressured by Carriers

The Rich Communication Services (RCS) protocol is seen as the next evolution of SMS messages, allowing for richer messages, including the ability to send audio messages, high-resolution images, group chats, read receipts, typing indicators and more.

The push for RCS has been coming from operating system providers Google and Microsoft, with support from major OEMs including Samsung, Huawei, LG, Asus and more, to go with 55 operators worldwide, including Rogers, Bell and Telus, which are listed as supporting Universal Profile, a new industry standard for RCS Business Messaging.

The apparent slide, shown from a GSMA event in October and shared on Reddit (via 9to5Mac), is titled “Apple’s Deployment of RCS” and states:

  • Apple Inc. represents under 15% of handset sales globally but up to 50% in some markets
  • Recently, Apple has engaged in discussions with the GSMA and Operators about including RCS in iOS to:
  • – Improve the Apple-to-non-Apple messaging experience for its customers
  • – Meet the needs of Operators in high-Apple-concentration markets deploying RCS
  • – Prepare for the post-2G, post-SMS future
  • Operators are putting pressure on Apple to launch RCS

Apple RCS GSMA slide

Image via Reddit

While the apparently leaked slide from the GSMA event has yet to be verified as legitimate, one hint it could be indeed real is the dude pictured in the middle of the slide above. He is also the same person shown on the GSMA’s website for Universal Profile and RCS Business Messaging:

Gsma rcs apple

RCS uses a data network to bring a new messaging experience to essentially emulate features in WhatsApp, Messenger and iMessage, including typing indicators, read receipts, group chats and more.

Currently, iMessage conversions within the Messages app are sent in blue, while SMS messages are sent in the ‘dreaded’ colour of green. If RCS is supported by Apple, it’ll be interesting to see how it is implemented into the Messages app (which could use some new features such as quoted replies).