Apple’s decision to keep its iMessage platform exclusive to it own devices has actually made the messaging app a failure.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal published a story detailing how this distinction between green and blue chat bubbles has caused social pressure among teens and young people.
The blue and green bubble debate highlights a broader problem throughout the industry: There is no single, modern texting standard that works across all phones. Rich Communication Services, or RCS, is the closest alternative.
As one of the biggest players in the mobile phone industry, Apple could undoubtedly be doing more to help establish a more consistent texting experience across devices. But the question is whether doing so is in the company’s interest. Apple often touts its control over iOS as a selling point for consumers, and shifting away from iMessage could jeopardize that.
A new report from MacWorld notes that Apple’s hesitancy to develop iMessage into a more full-fledged universal messaging app, like WhatsApp or WeChat, has been a failure on the part of the Cupertino company.
Starting with the most obvious, it may be time for Apple to consider RCS support in iOS 16. In addition to RCS including many iMessage-like features like typing indicators, enhanced group chats and encryption, Apple does have a history of adopting open formats after they have spent a few years developing.
If supporting RCS is simply not going to happen in iOS, Apple could instead make sure its Messages app is making the most of the limited bandwidth available within SMS and MMS.
Bringing iMessage to Android could instead draw more customers to Apple’s iPhone ecosystem. It’s a strategy that worked way back in the 2000s, when launching iTunes on Windows considerably increased the customer base for Apple’s music store.
While it might convince some iPhone customers to jump ship and switch to Android, it could also help Apple reach a wider audience by exposing Android users to its products and services.