Apple to adopt RCS so the iPhone to Android messaging inequity could finally be over
In a shock move, Apple has decided to adopt RCS (rich communication services) that will improve texting between iPhone and Android and offer higher quality and security.
This means the whole green bubble and blue bubble inequity that exists for iPhone users and Android users will finally be at an end.
Apple has been under pressure from rival companies including Google and Samsung to make the move to RCS, but the Californian-based tech giant has stood its ground – until now.
Part of the reason why Apple resisted was based on the strength of its iMessage services which offered the highest quality and the most security when messages were shared between Apple devices.
But Apple has announced it will add “support for our RCS universal profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM association” sometime in 2024.
Apple says RCS would still work alongside iMessage which it said, “will continue to be the best and most secure message experience”.
Analysts say the move by Apple may have been directed from pressure by the European Union’s Digital Markets Act which had its eye on Apple’s iMessage on its list of services to make more universal.
We’ve already seen the power of the EU which forced Apple to include USB-C on its latest iPhone 15 to comply with a new EU directive a year ahead of the deadline in 2024.
Roger Entner, founder and lead analyst at Recon Analytics told Mobile World Live “champagne corks are popping on Google’s campus”.
“I’m surprised because Apple has driven iMessage as a massive differentiator. This is huge.”
iPhone users can tell if they receive a message from someone on an Android smart phone by the green bubble.
iPhone to iPhone iMessages appear blue and offer the highest quality and end to end encryption for the highest security.
iPhone to Android Messages use older technologies like SMS (short messaging service) and MMS (multimedia messaging service) which compresses images and videos when they are shared between these two systems.
What this imbalance did was drive users to neutral territory with apps like WhatsApp which treats iPhone and Android users equally.
What RCS will do is level the playing field and allow for messages to be sent as data over wi-fi along with encryption and read receipts.
After Apple adopts RCS, it will also provide typing indicators, so you’ll know if the person on Android has received the message and if they are responding.
Last year Google launched an online campaign to persuade Apple to adopt the RCS cross platform messaging protocol.
At that time Apple did not respond but the fact that the company is now on board with RCS is a massive turn around that has surprised the industry.
As late as September 2022, Apple CEO Tim Cook dismissed RCS because he had heard no demand from customers. Of course, all his customers are iPhone users.