Messaging Will Never Be The Same

RCS will change everything.

Not yet a subscriber? Sign up here!

Good morning! ☀️ *Tim Cook voice*

Today, we’re discussing RCS support coming to the iPhone, iOS 18 and the latest software updates, and more!

Estimated reading time: 3.8 minutes

📊 Poll

In the last poll, I asked: Do you use lens protectors on your iPhone?

Here were some of my favorite replies:

No - “Apple spent millions developing good glass for their cameras so why cover them in cheap plastic?”

Yes - “yes, my iPhone is case less, so I put a lens protector just to avoid scratches when I put my phone on a rough surface, if they get scratched I just change them, they are cheap.”

This week: Are you more likely to respond to an iMessage (blue bubble) compared to a text message (green bubble)? More on this below.

Are you more likely to respond to iMessage vs Text Message?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

🫨 RCS is Coming to iPhone

Well, I never thought I’d see the day - Apple has just confirmed that RCS support is coming to the iPhone next year! That was completely unthinkable just a few months ago. Here’s what you need to know:

  • RCS stands for Rich Communication Services

  • It’s a communication protocol created by Google in 2007 to replace the ancient SMS/MMS standard

  • iPhone still uses the SMS/MMS standard from 2002, which leads to heavily compressed media files when sent to an Android user, a limit of 160 characters, and many other limitations

  • That will be changing in 2024:

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.

Apple spokesperson

The Benefits

  • iPhone pictures, and especially videos, will not be compressed to death like they are now, since MMS will be replaced by RCS

  • Unlike SMS, there will not be a character limit of 160. There is no character limit at all

  • Typing indicators and read receipts are also included with RCS

  • Group Chats with Android users will be a lot less annoying

  • You can message Android users over Wi-Fi, you don’t need a cell connection

What’s the Catch?

The addition of RCS support will solve almost every issue we have with standard SMS messaging. But what’s the catch?

  • Android bubbles will still be green. Only the messaging standard is changing, not Apple’s proprietary iMessage service

  • RCS has end-to-end encryption, but it’s not as strong as iMessage

  • However, Apple will work to improve the RCS protocol and ensure the security/encryption is as good as iMessage before bringing it over to iOS because they will not use any sort of proprietary end-to-end encryption on top of RCS

So nothing will be changing if you only message other iPhone users via iMessage, but if you text Android users, this is a monumental change and a massive shift for Apple.

However, despite RCS support, you better believe that people will continue to make fun of those green bubbles.

What does this mean for other platforms?

  • In countries aside from the US & Canada, WhatsApp and Telegram are the standard for messaging. I do not see this change impacting those apps in Europe, Asia, etc whatsoever

  • In the US, though, I think users will switch to their phone’s default Messaging app to communicate since we’ll no longer be relying on SMS/MMS

Why Now?

The big question is: why did Apple wait until now to announce RCS, even though Tim Cook and others were against it in recent years?

Well, I think the EU played a role. The impending legislation could have required Apple to implement RCS, just like we saw with USB-C.

Here’s a question for you: do you think RCS is a good thing for Apple to bring to the iPhone? Why or why not? Vote below!

Do you think RCS for iPhone is a good thing?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

⚙️ iOS 18 Might Be Huge

We’re still ~7 months away from seeing iOS 18 at WWDC 2024, but we now know that the update is set to be a big one, according to Bloomberg.

Apple also faces a more daunting task with its 2024 software. After a few years of modestly sized updates to iOS, the next version of the iPhone and iPad software could be relatively groundbreaking.

Internally, Apple’s senior management has described its upcoming operating systems as “ambitious and compelling,” with major new features and designs, in addition to security and performance improvements.

Mark Gurman
  • Apple is focusing heavily on AI right now, so expect iOS 18 to include major changes to Siri and/or a separate app that utilizes AI - more specifically generative AI

  • Development on iOS 18 was paused for a full week recently, indicating that Apple is serious about making the next major release a stable one

  • That does not necessarily imply a delay in the software though, as Gurman says it “probably won’t noticeably postpone the ultimate release of the software.” The worst case scenario, he says, is that it means Apple will have “a little less time at the end of the development cycle to eliminate any last-minute glitches

Let’s be honest, every year we hear how “amazing” the next iOS release is going to be, and it almost never lives up to the hype.

But this time, something feels different.

Apple has been making several massive changes lately (USB-C, RCS support, etc) and the path to a major change to iOS seems inevitable.

Now don’t expect a design overhaul with new icons or anything like that, but if Apple gives Siri some AI superpowers, that alone will be a big deal.

And to hear Apple’s senior management describe the update as “ambitious and compelling” reads to me like AI will be the focus. Thoughts?

Meanwhile, we also received a few other software updates recently:

  • iOS 17.2 Beta 3 dropped this week, with more changes than Beta 2. Here’s my video on that

  • visionOS Beta 6 was also released and it came with a new onboarding video. Check that out here

  • watchOS 10.2 Beta 3 re-enabled the ability to switch watch faces with a swipe gesture

Expect the iOS 17.2 Betas to continue the week after next, and a final release in early-mid December.

What did you think of today's newsletter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Subscribe to keep reading

This content is free, but you must be subscribed to The Apple Den to continue reading.

Already a subscriber?Sign In.Not now

Join the conversation

or to participate.