Apple is finally caving and will add support for RCS in its iPhones starting in 2024.
Apple tells 9to5Mac that it plans to launch RCS support via a software update next year. Apple did not immediately respond to IGN’s request for comment.
“Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association,” an Apple spokesperson told 9to5Mac’s Chance Miller. “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.”
9to5Mac notes that Apple adopting RCS is not the company’s way of “opening up iMessage to other platforms,” but rather the adoption of the RCS will be separate from iMessage, with the company reiterating to the outlet that iMessage is stronger than RCS in terms of support for encryption.
Blue Bubble vs. Green Bubble
RCS or Rich Communication Services is a communication protocol, and for those familiar with Android, RCS is the messaging standard used for most of those devices. However, Apple has resisted supporting RCS despite pressure from other companies, including Google and Samsung.
Apple’s lack of RCS support is also the cause of the “blue bubble versus green bubble debate,” where blue bubbles are sent if both users have an iPhone, while iPhone users texting someone with an Android phone get green bubbles, indicating the message was sent using Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)/Short Message Service (SMS).
As 9to5Mac points out, while Apple did not go into specifics on what form RCS messaging will take, its inclusion could enable signature iMessage features, such as a visual indicator when someone is typing a message and read receipts. Not to mention, it could finally allow iPhone and Android devices to send high-res images and videos.
The news comes two days after Nothing announced it was bringing iMessages to Phone 2 users with a new app. Apple has also been under pressure from the European Commission, which opened up an investigation into iMessage last September to determine whether or not the company’s messaging service was considered a “core platform service” under the Digital Markets Act (DMA). Apple argues that iMessage is neither popular enough under the DMA.
Taylor is a Reporter at IGN. You can follow her on Twitter @TayNixster.