Apple plans to add support for the RCS standard to iOS next year, the iPhone-maker said Thursday in a major change that will solve widespread text messaging compatibility issues between iPhones and Android devices. , a concern that affects millions around the world is known colloquially as the “green bubble” fear.
Apple’s long-standing reluctance to support RCS has perpetuated fragmentation in messaging ecosystems, particularly affecting Android users, critics have argued for years. Apple’s position, which is often seen as maintaining an exclusive ecosystem, has sparked a debate in the tech community about interoperability and user convenience.
Well, nothing more. In a sudden announcement Now, Apple also said, it believes that “RCS Universal Profile will provide a better interoperability experience compared to SMS or MMS.” The company, which plans to launch support next year, added: “This will work together with iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users.”
The major change follows Google’s repeated requests – and public pressure on – Apple to add support for RCS to iPhones. “People talk about ‘green bubbles’ as a problem with Android,” Hiroshi Lockheimer, SVP of Google, Tweet last year, referring to the visual difference seen when a message is sent from an Android user to an iPhone, where it appears in a green bubble. “There are hundreds of millions of people around the world already using RCS – encryption, uncompressed images and all. If you’re an iPhone user, hopefully you’ll get these capabilities soon.”
Apple, too, hasn’t been shy about its feelings on RCS. In response to a question about Apple’s plans to adopt RCS, Apple chief Tim Cook told an individual, “Buy your mom an iPhone.”
Rich Communication Services, or RCS, is the collective effort of many industry players to supplement traditional SMS with modern features such as richer texts and end-to-end encryption. Google, Samsung and other companies, including telecom operators, have rolled out support for RCS to more than 800 million users worldwide in recent years.
More to follow.