Why I Use Android & The Case for RCS on iPhone

I use an Android phone because of RCS (“Chat”, which I’m going to refer to it as for the rest of this post, as that’s what it’s called if you use Google Messages as your texting app), the fact that a majority of my family uses Android, and that it’s open, customizable, etc.

I get that Google doesn’t have a great track record with keeping chat applications alive and well (see: Allo, Talk, Hangouts) but Google Messages and by extension, Chat, are both here to stay. why? because Chat is a GSMA standard (see: https://www.gsma.com/futurenetworks/rcs/). that’s right: the same organization that made SMS and MMS a standard? they made RCS a standard!

Apple has no trouble adopting them, but anything remotely similar to iMessage? forget about it. not gonna happen. (see: Epic v. Apple, PX-356 https://app.box.com/s/6b9wmjvr582c95uzma1136exumk6p989/file/813257260113; Epic v. Apple, Cue Deposition 91:17-onwards/pages 53-55 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hfZAHBx2NSRyRq4oe_KS8pOokfoP3IIQ/view?usp=sharing)

however, I am also an iPhone user who is rooted in other parts of the Apple ecosystem (TV, iPad, Watch, Mac, etc.) and am frustrated by Apple’s inaction since 2019 to bring Chat support to iPhone. not only would it open up a ton of doors, but it’d get rid of the aging SMS/MMS protocols that make it basically impossible for iPhones to send videos to each other without using a third-party app.

I know why they’re doing this: iMessage lock-in. this was proven in the aforementioned Epic v. Apple court case. but as the one and only Linus Sebastian once said: “it’s actually the worst chat [method], because it’s not cross-platform…” (see: https://youtu.be/AnfDoKkEKEA in full, Linus and Luke make some great points too!)

I end by saying this, making a couple clarifications, as well as giving a TL:DR…

iMessage is not amazing, it’s not the killer application… it’s just a chat application that’s only available on devices ranging from $500-$55,000 USD (no joke on that last number; see: Mac Pro Tower maxed-out, not even looking at Mac Pro Rack) and can only be used to message other devices of the same cost.

RCS is a GSMA chat *standard*, not an application. all Apple has to do is take the Universal Profile (https://www.gsma.com/futurenetworks/rcs/universal-profile/) that Google, Verizon, and AT&T all use and implement it on iOS, making SMS/MMS a thing of the past. there is no acceptable reason for a single company to worsen the experience for people who don’t happen to have the money to afford an expensive, “iconic” “brilliant” or “(insert marketing term here)” device, who just want to keep in touch with children/grandchildren/other family members and actually be able to enjoy pictures and videos sent to them.

in summary: Apple, please get the message and implement RCS.

this post was in response to this article: https://9to5google.com/2022/06/18/google-rcs-iphone-drake/