Published on November 17, 2023, 2:28 am

The iPhone will soon gain RCS (Rich Communication Services) support, as confirmed by Apple to 9to5Mac. Currently, this messaging standard is adopted by Android phones and carriers worldwide, and it will provide a more cohesive communication experience between iPhones and Android devices.

When communicating with non-iPhone users through iMessage, there are several feature limitations such as the lack of typing indicators, disorganized group chats, and lower-resolution image and video sending. RCS addresses these pain points by leveraging both cellular and Wi-Fi services, offering benefits like location-sharing and read receipts between iPhones and Androids.

According to Apple’s statement to 9to5Mac, they plan to add support for RCS Universal Profile next year. This standard, published by the GSM Association, is expected to enhance interoperability compared to traditional SMS or MMS. Apple believes that iMessage will continue to provide the best and most secure messaging experience for their users alongside RCS.

This announcement comes at a time when companies like Google, Samsung, and Nothing are pressuring Apple to enable interoperability and feature parity across different operating systems. It also coincides with the deadline day for appeals to the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), where Google has previously supported regulating iMessage through a letter. The European Commission has played a significant role in promoting standards like USB-C in the recently launched iPhone 15 series.

Google welcomes Apple’s decision to embrace RCS, emphasizing that everyone should have access to modern and secure communication regardless of their phone choice. They have worked closely with the mobile industry to accelerate RCS adoption and look forward to implementing it on iOS in collaboration with Apple.

It’s important to note that the adoption of RCS does not mean the end of iMessage. Apple’s text messaging service remains a safer platform with end-to-end encryption support. According to Apple representatives cited by TechRadar, they do not plan on supporting proprietary extensions seeking additional encryption on top of RCS. Instead, they hope to work with the GSM Association to add encryption to the standard, ensuring better security for all users.

With this move, Apple is opening up one of its key advantages over Android in terms of messaging experience. Users may now consider trying devices without an Apple logo while still enjoying a superior texting experience. How this decision will impact iPhone sales, particularly among teenagers who are drawn to unique design aesthetics and foldable phones resembling iPhones, remains uncertain.

One thing is clear: next year we might hear less debate about messaging protocols and who’s right or wrong. With RCS support on the horizon for iPhones, users can look forward to a more seamless communication experience across platforms.


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