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In a historic move, Apple announced its intention to support RCS (Rich Communication Services) on iPhones starting in 2024. This momentous decision comes in reaction to rising pressure from industry competitors such as Google and Samsung and also regulatory authorities such as the European Union.
The introduction of RCS is expected to result in dramatic improvements in messaging standards, providing increased interoperability and communication features for iOS users. Meanwhile, Nothing CEO Carl Pei expressed his support for Apple’s strategic move, echoing the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Pei underlined the importance of accepting change and innovation, recognising the implications of Apple’s move for customers and competitors. Google also praised Apple’s move, acknowledging its ramifications for customers, competition and again for innovation.
This collaboration between digital titans highlights the industry-wide shift toward unified communications standards, with RCS positions as a significant breakthrough. From USB Type-C to RCS, Apple has been at the forefront of talks about some critical improvements in its product features and communication protocols.
Previously, the focus was on Apple’s move from the Lightning plug to USB-Type C connectors, and the recent RCS for streamlined communications between Android handsets and iPhones. While Apple is promoting RCS, it is important to highlight that iMessage, the only Apple messaging app, will continue to be an important element of the iPhone’s user experience.
“Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association,” an Apple official said, clarifying that iMessage is not being replaced. Continued, we believe that RCS Universal Profile will provide a better interoperability experience than SMS or MMS.
This will function alongside iMessage, which shall continue to provide Apple users with the greeted and most secure messaging experience. RCS is now positioned as a complementary feature, increasing cross-platform texting between iPhones and Androids.
The RCS Universal Profile promises a more adaptable and interoperable experience, including capabilities similar to iMessage such as read receipts, typing indicators, high-quality image and video sharing and location sharing.
Although RCS provides a more feature-rich messaging experience, the colour of chat bubbles which is a distinguishing feature for many users, is expected to remain. The famous blue bubbles of iMessage will certainly remain unchanged, further emphasising the visual distinction between iMessage and RCS.
The transition to RCS is consistent with Apple’s commitment to adapting to developing industry standards while maintaining the security and privacy of its messaging ecosystem. End-to-end encryption defines iMessage as a secure and privacy-friendly solution, a characteristic that RCS does not currently reproduce at the same level.
This announcement represents a significant step forward in the evolution of communication standards, demonstrating Apple’s response to market dynamics and customer expectations. As RCS usage grows, it is expected to overcome communication barriers between platforms, providing users with a more seamless and feature-rich messaging experience.
Apple’s choice to accept RCS makes a purposeful move toward messaging protocol standardisation, increasing interoperability while keeping the strengths of its unique iMessage platform. The technology industry is undergoing dramatic changes as a result of user expectations, technological breakthroughs and regulatory considerations.
The inclusion of RCS on iPhones marks a significant advancement in this trajectory, offering new avenues for cross-platform communication.