If you were hoping to see an announcement at Apple’s Far Out event that it was switching to RCS for Messages, you were disappointed. And if you’re still holding out hope that the feature could be coming to iPhones soon, you’re also going to be disappointed.
During Vox Media’s 2022 Code Conference, Tim Cook was asked about the whole iPhone-iOS texting issue and he had a pretty blunt answer: “I don’t hear our users asking that we put a lot of energy on that, on this point.” That’s probably true. But users probably weren’t clamoring for the Dynamic Island either and look how great that is.
Apple has been under increasing pressure from Google to adopt the Rich Communication Services standard, which is basically iMessage for regular texts. As it stands, Messages uses standard SMS to send messages to Android users and the results can be wonky, especially when dealing with media. Anyone who’s tried to send a photo or video to Android users can relate: the recipient will likely see a garbled, blurry mess.
But Cook doesn’t really care. When asked about that very issue, he told the person, “I would love to convert you to iPhone.” And when confronted again about sending blurry photos to their mother’s Android phone, Cook quipped, “Buy your mom an iPhone.”
Cook may be joking, but he’s also very serious. Despite a massive ad campaign from Google and attention from high-profile media outlets such as The New York Times and Wall Street Journal (even Macworld columnist Jason Snell thinks RCS should happen), Apple isn’t too keen on changing its system. iMessage’s exclusivity is a feature, not a bug, and the green bubbles only serve to reinforce it.
Apple will probably switch to RCS one day, if for no other reason than it’s more secure than SMS. But don’t expect it anytime soon.