A integrate years ago, an unnamed Apple executive told maestro tech publisher Walt Mossberg that a association wasn’t meddlesome in bringing iMessage to Android. His reason was apparent to anyone who understands how Apple operates: Excluding a renouned messaging program from other platforms helps Apple sell some-more of a possess hardware.
The thought that Apple will never pier iMessage to Android has given turn required knowledge in a tech world. While copiousness of observers have pined for an Android version—The Verge’s Paul Miller even pronounced he’d use Bing for a year if it happened—their pleas mostly indicate that Apple would be harming a business in a process.
Maybe that’s not loyal anymore. In light of last week’s news that Google is subsidy a next-gen chronicle of content messaging with iMessage-like facilities (officially called RCS, though nicknamed “Chat”), a time is right for iMessage to arrive on Android, and not usually as a self-defeating goodwill gesture. For Apple, releasing iMessage on Android would also advantage a code and business.
Good for Apple customers
Imagine an Android chronicle of iMessage that behaved a same approach as a iOS version: When users send a content to other iMessage users—either on iOS or Android—they automatically get to use iMessage facilities such as full-resolution images, review receipts, large-scale organisation chats, stickers, and peer-to-peer payments, all corroborated by end-to-end encryption. If a target isn’t regulating iMessage, a summary falls behind to plain aged SMS, indicated by a immature discuss bubble. That way, iMessage could reinstate a phone’s default texting app, a same approach Google Hangouts did before it pivoted to being an craving discuss app final year.
It wouldn’t be prolonged before iPhone users—eager for a unchanging messaging knowledge no matter who they’re articulate to—started convincing their Android-owning friends to get on board. Apple could even assistance ramp adult a vigour with an “invite to iMessage” symbol that users can send whenever a dreaded immature discuss burble appears. While Android users competence conclude carrying entrance to iMessage, a bigger advantage would be for iPhone users, who’d never again have to humour SMS’s limitations.
Good for a Apple brand
Alternatively, Apple could usually chuck a support behind Google’s RCS standard, not as a deputy for iMessage, though as a fallback for messaging with Android users.
But since RCS is not end-to-end encrypted, some observers have criticized Google for subsidy it and have suggested Apple to stay away. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber pronounced it was “unconscionable” for Google to support a customary but encryption. Mossberg said Google was building “an uncertain messaging complement tranquil by carriers who are in bed with governments everywhere during accurately a time when universe publics are some-more disturbed about information collection and burglary than ever.”
While avoiding RCS is a right position for Apple to take, inaction doesn’t accomplish anything for Apple’s customers, who will continue to tumble behind on unencrypted communications whenever they sell messages with Android users. By releasing iMessage on Android, Apple could put some-more vigour on Google and wireless carriers to built end-to-end encryption into a RCS standard, lest they remove even some-more control of a messaging business to Apple. In a meantime, an Android chronicle would also strengthen Apple’s summary that privacy is a elemental tellurian right, not usually a payoff for people who usually associate with other iPhone users.
Good for Apple’s business
Over a final year, we’ve seen justification that a smartphone business is peaking, including a first holiday sales decrease in iPhone history. And many of those consumers hang to what they know; a new consult by Consumer Intelligence Research partners found that 91 percent of Android phone buyers in a United States final year remained with Android, and 86 percent of iPhone owners stayed with a iPhone. (Because Android has some-more users, CIRP says some-more of them are switching to iPhone in comprehensive numbers than a other approach around.) Instead of worrying about mass defections from iOS, Apple should concentration on a bigger expansion event in hardware and services over a smartphone.
iMessage can assistance with that. Let’s contend an Android user gets bending on iMessage and wants to keep their conversations going on a tablet, smartwatch, computer, or intelligent speaker. In all those cases, that user would still need Apple hardware. And for a tiny commission of Android users who are peaceful to switch smartphone platforms, an Android chronicle of iMessage could assistance lean them by hinting during iPhone-exclusive features, such as a ability to make Animoji. At a same time, Apple could fist some services income from Android users by plaque purchases and peer-to-peer payments.
In a past, Apple has expelled a program on competing platforms when it creates vital sense, and infrequently usually as a courtesy. iTunes landed on Windows in 2003 to boost a iPod’s appeal, for instance, and Apple Music launched on Android in 2015 to strech some-more users in abroad markets where Google’s handling complement dominates. iCloud services are accessible on a web so that PC users can entrance their papers or find their phones in a pinch, and iCloud Drive is on Windows to contest with other cross-platform storage services like Dropbox.
Releasing iMessage on Android would also produce vital advantages for Apple, ones that would distant transcend a diminutive risk of people abandoning their iPhones for Android. And with Google rallying carriers and phone makers around an alternative, now would be a ideal time for Apple to make a move.