Apple is finally embracing support for the Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging standard, following alleged reluctance to do so for years. This information comes from a report by 9to5Mac, which suggests that the transition will take effect from next year. However, the crucial point to consider is that much of this feature will be introduced through a software update scheduled for later next year, and isn’t available just yet.
The report states that this decision is a response to sustained pressure from companies, industries, and rivals. “Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association,” Apple was quoted as saying by 9to5Mac. Apple added, “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.”
The keyword in this context is “alongside.” RCS is not replacing iMessage; it will exist alongside iMessage to allow messages sent to non-iOS devices to go through the new RCS pipeline, rather than relying on SMS technology. This is why having RCS support does not necessarily mean that Apple will change the color of the text bubbles.
Moreover, RCS-powered messaging will serve as a backup for Apple, behind its iMessage service. The latter is also considered more secure and privacy-friendly compared to RCS. Apple also emphasizes that the encryption of iMessage is more robust.
Considering the broader context, RCS support on Apple devices has been a long-time coming, as many rivals, such as Samsung and Google, already offer similar capabilities on their Android devices. Faced with regulatory pressure and responding to user demands, Apple has finally embraced RCS.
Once this feature is implemented for iPhones, it will bring basics such as read receipts, typing indicators, and the ability to send high-definition videos, among other features. Additionally, RCS will enable users to share their location with others, and this technology won’t require any SMS service.
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