Why RCS for the iPhone is Apple’s biggest announcement of 2023

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A being captivation the Apple iPhone 15 Plus.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Hell has arctic over. On November 16, 2023, Apple fabricated the actual unexpected advertisement that it was bringing abutment for RCS on the iPhone in 2024.

In 2022, Tim Cook himself said that he’d rather advertise you an iPhone instead of anytime bringing RCS abutment to the iPhone because he anticipation chump appeal for RCS wasn’t there. Google has fabricated abundant attempts to abashment Apple over its pushback of RCS over the years.

Knowing how adamant Apple can be with such decisions, no one accepted Apple to assuredly cave in, abnormally afterwards what Cook said. But it’s happening, and this could be one of the better announcements that Apple has fabricated this absolute year.

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The RCS blast course

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Since this abruptness announcement, there has been some confusion. A lot of people, abnormally those who acceptable haven’t acclimated an Android buzz and alone an iPhone, aren’t accustomed with Rich Communication Services (aka RCS).

We’ve covered the history of RCS a few times actuality at Digital Trends, but in short, it’s basically a backup agreement for SMS/MMS that was aboriginal founded in 2007. In 2018, Google said it was alive with the above carriers to accept RCS, and this resulted in Chat — a agreement based on the RCS Universal Profile. Basically, it’s a all-around RCS accepted that allows subscribers from assorted carriers and countries to acquaint with anniversary other.

Currently, Android phones accept RCS support, and it works analogously to iMessage. With RCS, you can see accounting indicators, apprehend receipts, adeptness to accelerate and accept letters over cellular and Wi-Fi, allotment your location, and accelerate and accept high-resolution photos and video.

While the affection set of RCS is agnate to iMessage, it doesn’t accept aggregate that iMessage has, like stickers and Memojis, as able-bodied as the adeptness to adapt or unsend a message.

An Apple agent beatific this account to 9to5Mac:

“Later abutting year, we will be abacus abutment for RCS Universal Profile, the accepted as currently appear by the GSM Association. We accept RCS Universal Profile will action a bigger interoperability acquaintance back compared to SMS or MMS. This will assignment alongside iMessage, which will abide to be the best and best defended messaging acquaintance for Apple users.”

So, why is this important?

iMessage on an iPhone 14 Pro Max, additional iMessage on an Android buzz application the Beeper app.Joe Maring / Digital Trends

While you may or may not affliction about RCS because all of your accompany and ancestors use iPhones anyway, this is still huge news. In the end, this is a move that allowances anybody regardless, and it’s a footfall in the appropriate direction.

It may accept been burden from the European Union to accomplish Apple accessible up iMessage (and the App Store), affectionate of like how Apple switched over to USB-C for the iPhone 15. Still, it seems that legislation is what absolutely makes advance and advancements in the tech articles that we use instead of aloof competition.

It’s additionally important to agenda that SMS/MMS has never, and never will, be end-to-end encrypted. That makes SMS abundantly anemic back it comes to defended messaging, and anyone who is able of intercepting them is able to apprehend them. RCS, at atomic currently on Android phones, has end-to-end encryption. It ability not be as able as Apple’s encryption with iMessage, but it’s absolutely added defended than apparent SMS.

However, it appears that Apple’s accessible abutment for RCS will not accommodate Google’s end-to-end encryption extension. Instead, it appears Apple will be alive with the standards anatomy to sanction a accepted encryption adjustment instead. This is a analytic access back Google’s E2EE addendum is proprietary and would exclude added RCS Universal Profile users.

For best people, they may never apprehension a aberration already RCS is added to iOS, abnormally if they don’t already argument with addition who uses Android. But aloof because one accumulation of users doesn’t affliction doesn’t beggarly it won’t amuse others. Apple bringing RCS to the iPhone is absolutely a big deal, and it allowances everyone, whether they charge it or not.

The abject and blooming balloon war isn’t activity away

iMessage accumulation babble with an Android user assuming the blooming bubbles.Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

When this was aboriginal announced, there was a lot of belief on whether or not RCS letters would be a altered blush from SMS, which is green. As it turns out, no, RCS letters will stick with the blooming bubbles aloof like SMS.

Unfortunately, this agency that the amusing bisect amid the abject and blooming bubbles will abide in place. For best adults, this apparently doesn’t amount much, if at all (unless you’re in the dating scene I guess), but it appears to be a bigger accord for teenagers.

Honestly, the blush of the bubbles has never agitated me — I’m not activity to not allocution to addition aloof because they use an Android phone. It aloof agency I won’t be able to do all of the appearance in iMessage with that person. But I can still acquaint with them, and that’s the absolute point of the Messages app in the aboriginal place. Yes, I about antic about the blue/green balloon thing, but I never booty it seriously.

Since RCS letters will break green, best bodies apparently won’t apprehension a aberration back they text, at atomic appropriate away. But back they alpha seeing accounting indicators and apprehend receipts, as able-bodied as media that doesn’t attending like it came from a cast buzz in the 2000s, bodies ability admiration what’s activity on.

It’s about abuse time

Nothing Chats on a Nothing Phone 2 compared with iMessage on an iPhone 15 Pro Max.iMessage on an iPhone 15 Pro Max (left) and Nothing Chats on a Nothing Phone 2 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I accept been pining for a bigger band-aid for messaging amid iPhones and Androids for a few years now. The acumen for this is that I’m consistently communicating with my ancestors through accumulation chats, and while my mom and brother both use an iPhone, my sister is the outlier amid us with an Android phone.

A big complaint I’ve had has been the disability to accelerate and accept high-resolution photos and video, abnormally back it comes to administration what my daughter’s been up to or our pets. Whenever my sister sends a video or carnality versa, it looks like it is potato affection and feels like it came from the aboriginal 2000s. Basically, I can’t acquaint what the hell is activity on in the video because it’s so abuse tiny and pixelated — what’s the point?

I’ve additionally had assorted instances area I acquainted I didn’t charge to partake in the accumulation chat because it wasn’t accordant to me. However, accumulation chats with an Android user on an iPhone accept been so acid back you can’t aloof leave the accumulation like an iMessage accumulation chat. So, I’ve aloof larboard those on mute.

From the looks of it, RCS may not break all the problems I accept — it’s cryptic if you’ll be able to leave accumulation chats with an Android user, for example. But as continued as the angel and video affection don’t attending like it was taken with a potato anymore, I anticipate I can alive with it.

iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 15 Pro on leaves.Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

As I said before, it seems that legislation is added able in aperture up the gates to Apple’s belted garden than competition. The EU was a above agency in accepting Apple to about-face from Lighting to USB-C on the iPhone 15, and the antitrust legislation continues with the App Store and now iMessage services.

Much like the about-face to USB-C for the iPhone, Apple abacus RCS abutment is huge. It’s one of the better announcements the aggregation has fabricated this year, abundantly because no one was assured it, and it’s addition footfall appear a added universally able platform. And you apperceive what? That’s appealing abuse cool.

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