Messaging Will Never Be The Same
RCS will change everything.
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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
In the last poll, I asked: Do you use lens protectors on your iPhone?
Here were some of my favorite replies:
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?
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:
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
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?
⚙️ 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 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:
Expect the iOS 17.2 Betas to continue the week after next, and a final release in early-mid December.
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