Published on November 16, 2023, 10:45 pm

Apple To Adopt Rcs Messaging Standard In Response To Pressure From Competitors And Regulators

In a surprising announcement, Apple revealed today that it will be adopting the RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging standard. This move comes as a response to pressure from regulators and competitors such as Google and Samsung. Apple plans to launch the feature via a software update sometime next year.

The adoption of RCS by Apple means that iPhone and Android users will be able to enjoy a wide range of iMessage-style features in their messaging experience. This includes read receipts, typing indicators, high-quality images and videos, location sharing, and more. RCS also provides the advantage of being able to work over mobile data or Wi-Fi, unlike traditional SMS.

It’s important to note that this does not mean Apple is opening up iMessage to other platforms. Instead, RCS will replace SMS and MMS for cross-platform communication while iMessage will continue to be the primary messaging platform for iPhone users. SMS and MMS will still be available as fallback options when necessary.

Apple emphasizes that iMessage remains more secure and privacy-friendly compared to RCS. iMessage is end-to-end encrypted, with Advanced Data Protection for Messages in iCloud further enhancing security. On the other hand, RCS does not currently support encryption at the same level as iMessage.

This decision by Apple comes after years of pressure from competitors like Samsung and Google. Previously, Apple had focused on improving the SMS experience between iPhone and Android devices but resisted adopting RCS. The company has now acknowledged the importance of RCS as a more mature platform.

Looking ahead, Apple intends to collaborate with GSMA members to improve the security and encryption of RCS messages. Their focus is on enhancing the RCS standard itself rather than implementing proprietary encryption methods.

When RCS support becomes available next year, it is expected to greatly enhance messaging conversations between iPhone and Android users by eliminating many of the limitations associated with SMS and MMS. Although availability may vary from carrier to carrier, all three major US carriers already support RCS, along with a majority of carriers worldwide.

Apple’s announcement also reiterates the company’s commitment to other open standards. They have worked closely with companies like Amazon and Google on projects such as the Matter smart home standard and expanded support for Passkeys through collaboration with the FIDO Alliance, which includes Microsoft and Google. Apple has also played a significant role in developing the Qi2 wireless charging standard based on MagSafe.

As for whether or not the infamous green bubbles will remain, only time will tell. Regardless, Apple’s decision to adopt RCS showcases their willingness to adapt and provide users with enhanced messaging features. Whether this move is seen as a positive response to market demands or a long-overdue adoption of RCS is up for debate.

What are your thoughts on Apple’s decision? Let us know in the comments.

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