In one of the most surprising moves of the year, Apple has committed to bringing RCS to the iPhone and Messages in 2024. Feel to read that again, but yes, Apple has apparently adopted RCS and will bring it to the iPhone over the coming year.
Through a statement released to 9to5Mac, Apple says it will adopt the RCS Universal Profile that is the standard across the smartphone world and is the upgraded version of SMS and MMS texting. They also acknowledged that their implementation of RCS will “work alongside iMessage” as the best messaging system for Apple users.
Here’s the full statement:
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.
To be clear here, this is not Apple saying it will open up iMessage to users outside of its own ecosystem. It is instead doing what Google has been pressuring them to do, which is adopt RCS as the fallback messaging technology when an iPhone user messages an Android user.
This all goes back to the green vs. blue bubble scenario, but it really means that messaging between an iPhone and an Android phone should just work better. RCS is an upgraded platform that allows for better group chats, typing indicators, high-res media sharing, location sharing, and more. It’s more secure as well, although Apple seems to think it is not as secure as iMessage. They could be right, who knows.
This is quite big. We could still have obnoxious bubble color wars, but at least the messaging experience shouldn’t suck between iPhones and Pixels and Galaxy devices.