Apple adopts RCS messaging: How is it going to make messaging better between Android and iOS

Apple adopts RCS messaging: How is it going to make messaging better between Android and iOS

Nov 17, 2023 - 12:30
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Apple adopts RCS messaging: How is it going to make messaging better between Android and iOS

In a surprising strategic move, Apple announced today its decision to embrace the Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging standard.

The tech giant plans to introduce this feature through a software update set to be released “later next year,” offering a plethora of iMessage-style functionalities for messaging between iPhone and Android users.

This unexpected decision from Apple coincides with mounting pressure from regulators and increased competition from industry rivals such as Google and Samsung. Simultaneously, the RCS platform has evolved into a more sophisticated system than its initial inception.

The upcoming adoption of RCS by Apple is poised to transform the texting experience for both iPhone and Android users. This move will introduce features such as read receipts, typing indicators, high-resolution image and video sharing, and location sharing directly within traditional text messages, making them comparable to popular instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp.

Here are some key features of RCS

Multimedia Content: Unlike conventional SMS, which is restricted to plain text, RCS facilitates the seamless exchange of multimedia content such as images, videos, and audio files within the messaging app.

Read Receipts: RCS supports read receipts, providing users with the valuable information of whether the recipient has read their message.

Typing Indicators: Users can benefit from typing indicators, offering real-time visibility into when someone is in the process of composing a response.

Real-Time Messaging: RCS enables real-time messaging, fostering more interactive and dynamic conversations compared to traditional messaging protocols.

Group Chats: The protocol supports the exchange of group chats, allowing users to engage in collaborative conversations with multiple participants.

Rich Media Sharing: RCS elevates the messaging experience by enabling rich media sharing, ensuring that users can share high-quality images and videos effortlessly.

Reactions to Messages: Another noteworthy addition is the ability to add reactions to messages, adding a layer of expressiveness to conversations.

Amidst these enhancements, Apple assures users that iMessage, renowned for its security and user experience, will remain an integral part of the messaging ecosystem. The adoption of RCS aims to bridge the feature gap between iPhone and Android messaging, offering a more versatile and modern communication experience. As the rollout of these features is anticipated in the near future, users can look forward to a significant upgrade in their day-to-day messaging interactions.

In a statement to 9to5Mac, an Apple spokesperson outlined the company’s perspective on the adoption of RCS, emphasizing its belief in the improved interoperability that RCS Universal Profile, the standard currently published by the GSM Association, offers for cross-platform messages.

The statement read: “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.”

Apple’s implementation of RCS is expected to empower users with enhanced capabilities, including the ability to share their location directly within text threads. Unlike traditional SMS, RCS can operate over both mobile data and Wi-Fi, providing users with more flexibility in their messaging experience.

This strategic move by Apple appears to be a response to increasing regulatory pressure, particularly stemming from the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA mandates major companies, including Apple, to ensure the interoperability of their services with other platforms. In September, the European Commission initiated an investigation into iMessage to determine whether it qualifies as a “core platform service.” In response, Apple contended that iMessage lacks sufficient popularity in Europe for the rules to be applicable. The tech giant is reportedly planning to appeal against the government’s regulation of its App Store.

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