After years of Google and other Android manufacturers mocking Apple for not offering RCS (Rich Communication Services), the Cupertino-based tech giant has finally announced that it will soon adopt the messaging standard.
In a surprise move, Apple said it would launch the feature via a software update ‘later next year,’ reports 9to5Mac, bringing iMessage-style features between iPhone and Android users.
In a statement to 9to5Mac, Apple said the following:
“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.”
RCS will bring iMessage-style features such as read receipts, typing indicators and high-quality images and videos to text messages sent between iPhone and Android users.
Further, with Apple on board, users can share their location with other contacts in text threads. Like Apple’s iMessage, RCS messages can be sent over mobile data or Wi-Fi.
However, Apple isn’t getting rid of iMessage, as it will continue offering iPhone users the platform. RCS will replace SMS and MMS in most cases, although those two messaging standards will still be available as a backup.
According to the report, the Cupertino tech giant reiterates that iMessage is more privacy-friendly than RCS, as it offers end-to-end encryption plus Apple’s Advanced Data Protection for messages in iCloud.
Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook told people to buy an iPhone to fix green bubble messaging issues. He took this statement a step further and said, “I don’t hear our users asking that we put a lot of energy in on [RCS] at this point. I would love to convert you to an iPhone.”
It looks like Cook changed his tune and that, perhaps, the iPhone’s lack of RCS is a bigger deal than he thought.
On the plus side, when I spend months using Android devices for MobileSyrup review purposes, maybe my friends won’t make fun of me anymore.
Update: Friday November 17th: RCS messages will continue to have green bubbles, confirms Apple.