June 16, 2024
Apple Announces RCS Support Coming Next Year in Surprise Move

Apple Announces RCS Support Coming Next Year in Surprise Move

Posted November 16, 2023 at 6:57pm by iClarified
Apple surprised everyone today by announcing support for the RCS messaging standard that will improve interoperability with Android phones. RCS (Rich Communication Services) is a communication protocol between mobile telephone carriers and between phone and carrier, aiming to replace SMS messages with a text-message system that is richer, provides phonebook polling (for service discovery), and can transmit in-call multimedia.

For many buyers, iMessage's blue bubbles over Android's green bubbles have been a significant factor in the iPhone vs Android decision. Recognizing this, Google has run a pressure campaign over the past few years to get Apple to adopt the standard. SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer even accused Apple of holding back the industry and using iMessage to bully users into buying iPhones.

Apple CEO Tim Cook had pushed back on these demands saying that its customers aren't asking the company to put significant energy into adopting the standard and suggested that you buy an iPhone if you want blue bubbles.

Apple Announces RCS Support Coming Next Year in Surprise Move

That position has now changed. The company provided the following statement to 9to5Mac today.

Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association. We believe RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS. This will work alongside iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users.

It's difficult to believe that Apple has changed its stance due to pressure from Google. iMessage is a key selling feature of iPhone and iOS and losing that competitive advantage could harm the company. It's more likely that EU legislation (ie Digital Markets Act) is forcing the company to improve messaging interoperability just as it is forcing the company to allow app sideloading and third party payment options.

Here's a look at some of the features RCS will enable:
● Rich Media and File Sharing: Unlike traditional SMS, RCS allows users to send high-resolution photos, videos, and audio messages.
● Group Chat Functionality: RCS supports advanced group chat features similar to what's found in modern messaging apps.
● Read Receipts and Typing Indicators: It can show when a message is read and when the other person is typing.
● Video Calls and Location Sharing: Users can initiate video calls and share their location directly from the messaging app.
● Enhanced Business Messaging: RCS provides businesses with more interactive and engaging ways to connect with customers, like sending rich media, interactive elements, and branded messages.

For more updates on when RCS support will become available, please download the iClarified app or follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and RSS.

Apple Announces RCS Support Coming Next Year in Surprise Move
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