The divide between green bubbles and blue bubbles may soon narrow. 9to5Mac reports that Apple has confirmed that it will support the RCS messaging standard that it has long avoided. This doesn’t mean that messages from Android devices will no longer appear green on Apple’s Messages app. This means that texting from iPhones to non-iOS devices will support the new Rich Communication Services protocol, meaning they won’t have to go through the aging SMS (and MMS) system. In the statement provided, Apple said: “We believe the RCS Universal Profile will provide a better interoperability experience compared to SMS or MMS.”
This support will “work alongside iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users.” With new features like voice memo transcriptions and recording that aren’t available on RCS, iMessage could still outperform the default text messaging apps on Android. This also means that none of the chat bubble colors may change.
Google has long taken photos of Apple for does not support RCS, claiming that the experience of texting between iPhones and non-iPhones is so outdated that it might as well be using a pager. With RCS support, messages between Android and iOS devices will be more secure (than SMS), while media can be shared with better quality.
A GSMA spokesperson told Engadget earlier this year that the RCS Universal Profile (UP) “provides the industry with an open, consistent and global messaging service across networks and devices. It simplifies interoperability and allows OEMs and operating system vendors to achieve scale and provide consumers with a richer, more consistent messaging experience, regardless of device or network.
It’s not yet clear when exactly Apple plans to enable support for RCS UP, although the release says “later next year.” Today’s announcement comes right on the deadline for companies to file an appeal with the General Court of the European Union. Apple is reportedly seeking to challenge the EU’s decision to place the entire App Store on a digital antitrust list under its Digital Markets Act.
In September, Apple launched the iPhone 15 series, which are the company’s first phones to feature USB-C charging ports instead of Lightning. This week we also saw news of the release of the Qi 2 wireless charging standard with the new iPhones among the first devices available compatible with the updated protocols.
Whether due to European regulations or other motivations, it’s clear that Apple is opening up parts of its walled garden to play with other devices. And maybe, just maybe, you won’t have to “buy your mom an iPhone.”
Gn En tech