Apple to improve green bubbles on iPhone to RCS standard

In a move that some media outlets compared to hell freezing over, Apple finally announced its plans to support Rich Communication Services (RCS) on iPhones, starting early next year.

Until now, the messaging between competing Android and iPhone devices was lackluster, stripped of typing indicators, high-res media sharing, group chats, and other compatibility features.

Pressured by regulators and competitors, Apple now plans to make messaging between iPhones and Androids easier. Apple will adopt the messaging standard RCS, used by many competing devices, next year, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

The company has been pushing back on RCS standard for more than a year, even as Alphabet's Google and others have pressured the iPhone maker to adopt the technology, the report said.

Apple said the new technology would work alongside iMessage and offer better interoperability than SMS or MMS.

With RCS, considered an industry standard for messaging, users can send and receive high-quality photos and videos, chat over WiFi or cellular data, and know when messages were read, among other features.

Zdnet noticed that the announcement comes on the deadline day for appeals to the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA), to which Google had previously signed a letter urging for the regulation of iMessage.

The RCS message bubbles on the Messages app will still remain green on iOS devices, marking the difference for messages outside Apple's closed ecosystem. Apple believes its service will continue “to be the best and most secure messaging experience,” while RCS offers better interoperability.

“We believe everyone deserves to communicate inclusively no matter what phone they have. This is one huge step closer to doing that. Excited for Apple to embrace RCS, the modern industry standard, to help make messaging better for everyone,” Google responded with a post on X.

The rival tech giant has been long pushing Apple “to fix texting” in a public campaign, “Get the message.” Google, with a group of other telecommunication companies, even sent a letter to the European Commission asking to investigate if iMessage meets the requirements to be regulated under the new Digital Market Act.

Google sends the message

RCS is the modern industry standard for dynamic and secure messaging. The standard does not include end-to-end encryption, offered separately by Google in its ecosystem. According to TechRadar, Apple won't be adding any proprietary encryption on top of RCS and hopes to work with the GSM Association to add encryption to the standard.

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