BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Apple will make a big change to iPhone messages next year

Nov 20, 2023, 7:15 AM | Updated: 7:20 am

The long-standing battle over the iOS’ blue and Android’s green text bubbles will soon take a m...

The long-standing battle over the iOS’ blue and Android’s green text bubbles will soon take a more friendly turn. (Credit: hocus-focus/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images//FILE)

(Credit: hocus-focus/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images//FILE)

(CNN) — The long-standing battle over the iOS’ blue and Android’s green text bubbles will soon take a more friendly turn.

Apple announced on Thursday plans to adopt a messaging standard that will finally bring iMessage features to Android users, eroding what some considered an element of Apple’s walled garden.

The change – first reported by tech site 9to5Mac – will add features, such as read receipt, typing indicators, better support for group chats and higher quality media sharing of images and videos, across platforms.

Apple told CNN in a statement it will add support for the standard, called RCS (Rich Communication Services), later next year. RCS is considered the replacement to alternatives such as SMS, or short messaging service, and can work over both Wi-Fi and mobile data.

“We believe RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS,” the company said in the statement. “This will work alongside iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users.”

A push from Europe

The change follows pressure from both regulators and competitors to more seamlessly work across operating systems. The European Union’s Digital Markets Act, for example, requires companies to make their key services interoperable between platforms. Earlier this year, it launched an investigation into whether it considers iMessage a core product.

Meanwhile, Google, which already has support for RCS within its messaging app, has been vocal about wanting Apple to adopt the standard. In early November, the company wrote a letter to the European Commission arguing iMessage was indeed a core Apple product and should be required to comply.

“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.”

Apple resistance

Over the years, Apple has pushed back on this type of connectivity. 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.”

The change also comes nearly two months after Apple announced its next-generation iPhone 15 would tout a USB-C universal charging system for the first time. The switch came less than a year after the European Union voted to approve legislation to require smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, portable speakers and other small devices to support USB-C charging by 2024.

“Both the adoption of the USB-C for the new iPhones as well as the support for RCS messaging is Apple’s way of getting ahead of European Union regulations which would likely have forced its hand in any case,” said Dipanjan Chatterjee, a VP principal analyst at Forrester Research. “Better the company own it and market it to their advantage.”

According to Michael Inouye, a principal analyst at ABI Research, Apple is also expected to work with the GSM Association, a nonprofit that works with mobile operators, to make RCS more secure through encryption and bring it closer to if not on par with iMessage –- “something that could benefit all users.”

“Some have also questioned if this will open the door for more Apple users to try new Android devices now that communications will be better supported across iOS and Android, such as foldable phones,” Inouye said. “But I don’t foresee this playing a significant role in changing demand for iPhones.”

Bubble longevity?

The move, however, doesn’t necessarily mean the green bubbles (Android or other users) and blue bubbles (Apple users) that are displayed when messaging someone on the other platform will go away anytime soon.

Chatterjee said that keeping the colors is an Apple marketing strategy that will likely continue, despite the shift to the RCS standard.

“The blue bubble is a badge of the Apple tribe, and this distinctive identity, as well as the company’s iMessage platform, is not going anywhere anytime soon,” Chatterjee said. “Instead, RCS support will enable a smoother and better customer experience of iPhone users communicating across platforms. The company hopes that’s a win-win for all –- their customers get to inhabit Apple’s world, but also play nicely with others.”

Related reading: The iPhone’s new Action Button is more than a one-trick pony

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Business + Economy

wall street and broad signs shown...

STAN CHOE AP Business Writer

Stock market today: Wall Street falls toward its worst week in months as oil jumps

The nation’s largest bank gave a forecast for a key source of income this year that fell below Wall Street’s estimate.

1 day ago

A man sits at an office computer - Companies are experimenting with a four day workweek...

CNN

4-day workweeks may be around the corner. A third of America’s companies are exploring them

Nearly one-third of large US companies are exploring new work schedule shifts such as a four-day workweek, according to a survey by KPMG.

1 day ago

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on student loan debt at Madison College on April 8 in Madison,...

Katie Lobosco, CNN

Biden to forgive $7.4 billion more in student loan debt for 277,000 borrowers

President Joe Biden announced another round of student loan forgiveness helping around 277,000 borrowers.

2 days ago

The Instagram logo is seen on a cell phone in Boston, USA, Oct. 14, 2022....

KELVIN CHAN AP Business Writer

Instagram begins blurring nudity in messages to protect teens and fight sexual extortion

Instagram says it's deploying new tools to protect young people, including a feature that will automatically blur nudity in direct messages.

2 days ago

International flights could start flying out of the Provo Airport within the next couple of years, ...

Mariah Maynes

American Airlines announces service to Provo Airport

American Airlines announced that it will begin offering nonstop service to and from Provo airport this fall. 

2 days ago

Mortgage rates soar to their highest level in 21 years...

Peter Johnston

Homebuyers pause as mortgage rates jump

Mortgage rates have jumped to their highest level since Thanksgiving. Potential homebuyers are pressing pause on applying for new home loans.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Live Nation Concerts

Artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Apple will make a big change to iPhone messages next year