It appears that Apple is finally giving in and will be introducing support for RCS (Rich Communication Services) for the iPhone. This has come as a surprise as the tech giant previously showed no intent to adopt the RCS messaging standard used by most Android phones. According to a report by 9to5Mac, Apple will be launching the feature via a software update “later next year.”
RCS offers major upgrades to SMS/MMS as it supports modern messaging features such as the ability to send high-res images and videos, typing indicators, read receipts, and more. Adopting the standard in the iPhone will enable the support for these features when sending texts between iPhone and Android devices.
In a statement to 9to5Mac an Apple spokesperson says, “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.”
Previously, Apple has been very adamant about “not opening up iMessage” which offers similar features as RCS but only for messages sent between other iMessage users. This resulted in Android users triggering the ”the less cool” green bubble in group text messages. The “blue vs green bubble” debate has seen Google lightheartedly bully Apple with the “Get The Message” publicity campaign over this stance. Guess the taunting and criticism are finally paying off. Notably, the RCS adoption is not opening up iMessage.
End of “blue vs green bubbles”
Will this end the “blue vs green bubble” debate? We’ll have to wait for this one. In 2022, Tim Cook shut down the possibility of solving the green bubble problem seeing as it does not sell iPhones. Additionally, given Apple’s view on iMessage as a strategy to lock in users to the platform, it will come as no surprise if RCS messages are treated differently than iMessage. On the plus side, there is the higher file size support and the additional modern messaging features that come with RCS.
However, Apple will not be including the end-to-end encryption extension by Google. Instead, it will probably work with the GSMA to get a universal standard.
This is a developing story; we will be sure to keep you updated as more details become available.
Update: Apple will not be using Google’s end-to-end encryption extension for RCS.