In a surprising flip, Apple has confirmed in an announcement that it’ll convey RCS to iPhone, significantly bettering the expertise of sending messages between iPhones and most Android telephones. The announcement comes at a time when Apple is beneath unprecedented regulatory and authorized strain to interoperate higher with non-Apple services and elevated public outcry from customers to do the identical.
The assertion, despatched to a number of media shops, reads:
Later subsequent 12 months, we will likely be including help for RCS Common Profile, the usual as presently printed by the GSM Affiliation. We imagine RCS Common Profile will provide a greater interoperability expertise when in comparison with SMS or MMS. This may work alongside iMessage, which can proceed to be one of the best and most safe messaging expertise for Apple customers.
RCS is the brand new messaging normal that has been closely pushed by Google and adopted by the GSM Affiliation, a governing requirements physique for the wi-fi business. It’s meant to switch SMS and MMS because the default carrier-based messaging resolution, taking it as much as trendy requirements in an interoperable, device-and-platform agnostic means. Whereas RCS just isn’t unique to Android, it’s supported within the messaging purchasers for many Android telephones and Apple’s reluctance to help the usual has made it a de-facto “Android solely” know-how.
Apple informed TechRadar that it received’t be supporting “proprietary extensions” that search so as to add encryption on high of RCS and hopes, as a substitute, to work with the GSM Affiliation so as to add encryption to the usual. On Android telephones some apps (comparable to Google Messages) help encryption whereas others don’t.
We don’t know precisely how RCS will work on the iPhone, however the most probably state of affairs is that RCS purchasers will nonetheless seem like messaging with SMS purchasers, aka inexperienced bubbles, whereas iMessage customers will nonetheless be despatched with blue bubbles. Apple will nonetheless wish to differentiate between messages despatched with Apple units and people despatched with Android telephones since many options received’t be supported via RCS. However they’ll have the ability to co-exist and a single inexperienced bubble received’t blow up the entire group chat.
We do not know when “later subsequent 12 months” is, however that phrase makes it sound like that is an iOS 18 characteristic due for launch within the fall. We’ll probably study extra at WWDC in June, however in a nutshell, RCS help signifies that while you use Messages to speak with somebody who has an Android cellphone (or there’s an Android person within the group textual content), you’ll get options like:
- Sending messages over Wi-Fi or mobile.
- Group chats as much as 100 individuals.
- Full-size recordsdata, pictures, and movies (as much as 100MB, most likely).
- Supply and Learn reciepts.
- Typing indicators.
- Improved safety, together with encryption.
The RCS Common Profile has gone via a lot of updates in the previous couple of years so as to add options and capabilities, and we don’t but know which model Apple intends to help, or which non-obligatory options it’ll embrace. You may most likely count on every thing on the checklist above, however maybe not a few of RCS’s extra superior or latest options.
The transfer is one thing of an about-face for Apple, which hasn’t proven any inclination to undertake RCS. At a convention final September, in actual fact, Tim Cook dinner told an attendee that one of the best resolution for blurry pictures despatched from iPhones to Android telephones is to “Purchase your Mother an iPhone.”
As for iMessage, it’ll nonetheless provide extra options, together with the flexibility to edit and unsend messages and superior privateness and safety. In different phrases, there’ll nonetheless be an iMessage benefit, however the expertise for iPhone customers who ship messages to these utilizing Android telephones will enhance significantly—even of they’ll nonetheless want to take a look at inexperienced bubbles.