According to CNN, Apple will finally upgrade its system to the RCS (Rich Communication Services) for texting to others outside of the iMessage system. RCS has been the standard industry method for nearly 10 years. Apple had been relying on the 40-year-old SMS and MMS systems for texting non-Apple devices. SMS downgrades video and images when sharing between Apple and Android users.
Apple has resisted the calls from their users and Android execs to move to RCS. The different colored bubbles have led to some pride among Apple and iPhone users. Many Android users have been frustrated with the “Like” texts that copied the whole conversation again. More importantly, RCS is much more secure with data than the ancient SMS technology.
When asked how Steve Jobs would feel about the state of communication across platforms, CEO Tim Cook said last year during a conference: “I don’t hear our users asking that we put a lot of energy in on that at this point.” When an audience member said he wasn’t able to share certain videos with his mother, who was not an iPhone user, Cook responded: “Buy your mom an iPhone.” (CNN) I have no words to express my feelings about that level of narcissism.
Has Apple finally seen the light and wants to provide the best experience with the most security to its users? Well not really. Apple is making this change because of pressure from regulators. Apple desire to get more of their devices into other markets outside of the United States. Many of the European and Asian markets have regulatory standards that are not met with the SMS or MMS messaging that Apple uses to communicate to non-Apple users. One example of this is The European Union’s Digital Markets Act which requires companies to make their key services interoperable between platforms.
Google has been pressuring Apple for years and years to make this change. Here is their response to the news that Apple will finally adopt RCS.
“Everyone deserves to communicate with each other in ways that are modern and secure, no matter what phone they have,” Google said in a statement. “That’s why we have worked closely with the mobile industry to accelerate the adoption of RCS, and we’re happy to see Apple take their first step today by coming on board to embrace RCS. We welcome Apple’s participation in our ongoing work with GSMA to evolve RCS and make messaging more equitable and secure, and look forward to working with them to implement this on iOS in a way that works well for everyone.” (CNN)
Apple has already caved to pressure in Europe prior. The iPhone 15 has the USB-C universal charging system because the European Union voted to require this charging system for “smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, portable speakers and other small devices by 2024. ” (CNN)
Apple, welcome to the 21st Century even if it is only because you were brought in kicking and screaming. And for the Apple fanatics, no Apple didn’t just invent RCS.