Today is Google’s annual I/O conference for 2023. The company made several announcements for Android and Pixel products. During the keynote, Google again teased Apple for not supporting the RCS messaging protocol on the iPhone.
RCS Messaging Protocol: The Battle Between Google and Apple Continues at I/O 2023
RCS is a new open messaging standard created by Google to replace SMS. It is more secure and less limited. Google has been pushing RCS for every Android user, but Apple has not shown interest in adopting RCS on iOS. Apple already has iMessage, its own solution to replace SMS.
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iMessage is only available on Apple devices. This affects conversations between iPhone and Android users using the default Messages app. During today’s I/O, Google said that over 800 million people use RCS globally.
Google suggested that this number could be higher if every operating system “gets the message and adopts RCS”. Android VP Sameer Samat said he hopes everyone can “hang out in the group chat together, no matter what device we’re using.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook told a customer to “buy your mom an iPhone” when asked about RCS. Cook also said he doesn’t see Apple users asking the company “to put a lot of energy into that”. In the US, where iMessage is popular, allowing iPhone users to send RCS may hurt iPhone sales.
Craig Federighi said that “iMessage on Android would simply serve to remove [an] obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones”. People in the US, particularly teenagers, buy iPhones because of iMessage. But in countries where neither iMessage nor SMS/RCS are popular, this is not a problem.
Bringing RCS to the iPhone would benefit users. RCS has end-to-end encrypted messages, while SMS doesn’t. Unfortunately, a Bloomberg report from December 2022 revealed that Apple has no plans to adopt RCS in its devices.