A pair years in the past, an unnamed Apple government advised veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg that the corporate wasn’t all in favour of bringing iMessage to Android. His rationalization was apparent to anybody who understands how Apple operates: Excluding the favored messaging software program from different platforms helps Apple promote extra of its personal .
The concept that Apple won’t ever port iMessage to Android has since grow to be standard knowledge within the tech world. While loads of observers have pined for an Android model—The Verge’s Paul Miller even stated he’d use Bing for a yr if it occurred—their pleas usually suggest that Apple could be harming its enterprise within the course of.
Maybe that’s not true anymore. In gentle of final week’s news that Google is backing a next-gen model of textual content messaging with iMessage-like options (formally referred to as RCS, however nicknamed “Chat”), the time is true for iMessage to reach on Android, and never simply as a self-defeating goodwill gesture. For Apple, releasing iMessage on Android would additionally profit its model and enterprise.
Good for Apple prospects
Imagine an Android model of iMessage that behaved the identical manner because the iOS model: When customers ship a textual content to different iMessage customers—both on iOS or Android—they routinely get to make use of iMessage options akin to full-resolution photos, learn receipts, large-scale group chats, stickers, and peer-to-peer funds, all backed by end-to-end encryption. If the recipient isn’t utilizing iMessage, the message falls again to plain previous SMS, indicated by a inexperienced chat bubble. That manner, iMessage may change the telephone’s default texting app, the identical manner Google Hangouts did earlier than it pivoted to being an enterprise chat app final yr.
It wouldn’t be lengthy earlier than iPhone customers—looking forward to a constant messaging expertise regardless of who they’re speaking to—began convincing their Android-owning mates to get on board. Apple may even assist ramp up the strain with an “invite to iMessage” button that customers can ship at any time when the dreaded inexperienced chat bubble seems. While Android customers would possibly respect getting access to iMessage, the larger profit could be for iPhone customers, who’d by no means once more need to undergo SMS’s limitations.
Good for the Apple model
Alternatively, Apple may simply throw its assist behind Google’s RCS commonplace, not as a substitute for iMessage, however as a fallback for messaging with Android customers.
But as a result of RCS will not be end-to-end encrypted, some observers have criticized Google for backing it and have suggested Apple to remain away. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber stated it was “unconscionable” for Google to assist a typical with out encryption. Mossberg stated Google was constructing “an insecure messaging system controlled by carriers who are in bed with governments everywhere at exactly the time when world publics are more worried about data collection and theft than ever.”
While avoiding RCS is the best stance for Apple to take, inaction doesn’t accomplish something for Apple’s prospects, who will proceed to fall again on unencrypted communications at any time when they change messages with Android customers. By releasing iMessage on Android, Apple may put extra strain on Google and wi-fi carriers to constructed end-to-end encryption into the RCS commonplace, lest they lose much more management of the messaging enterprise to Apple. In the meantime, an Android model would additionally reinforce Apple’s message that privateness is a basic human proper, not only a privilege for individuals who solely affiliate with different iPhone customers.