Tech giant Apple recently announced that it plans to adopt a messaging standard in the coming year which would enable a smoother experience between iPhones and Android devices. This would eventually replace SMS and allow for improved messaging between smartphones running different operating systems. The company stated that it will release RCS through a software update that will bring support to iOS for the messaging standard, which is used by Android phones.
What is RCS?
Rich Communications Standard or RCS, is a messaging service that replaces SMS and MMS messaging protocols, which have been in use by smartphones since their inception. RCS also enables users to share higher-resolution images and videos between devices and also has other features like the ability to quickly insert GIFs and emoticons into conversations. Additionally, it provides additional security levels that are absent from the earlier messaging standards, as per a report in Wired.
Several publicity campaigns by the likes of Google and Samsung have blamed Apple for the lack of RCS adoption for things such as “low-resolution media in text messages, broken group chats and no read receipts or typing indicators when using SMS or MMS messaging between Apple and non-Apple devices,” as per the outlet.
What changes will it bring to Apple?
Apple believes that RCS “will offer a better interoperability experience” with Android devices than the MMS and SMS communications protocols that the iPhone presently supports, an Apple representative told Bloomberg.
The spokesman said that SMS and MMS would still be available as a backup and that RCS “will work alongside iMessage,” the existing messaging app used by iPhone users. The official claimed that iMessage is more secure than RCS. “Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association. We believe RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS,” Apple said. The integration will also further allow users to share their location with others in text threads.
According to Apple, which provided confirmation to ABC News, RCS messages, like SMS messages, will always appear green on Apple devices.
Google said it was “happy to see Apple take their first step today by coming on board to embrace RCS”. They also promised to work with Apple to implement the same, as per The Guardian.
“We welcome Apple’s participation in our ongoing work with GSMA to evolve RCS and make messaging more equitable and secure, and look forward to working with them to implement this on iOS in a way that works well for everyone. Everyone deserves to communicate with each other in ways that are modern and secure, no matter what phone they have,” they said.
Google launched a “Get the Message” campaign for Android last year, accusing Apple of being the cause of the malfunction and pleading with the company to implement RCS. Despite Apple’s refusal to adopt texting standards, messaging between iPhones and Android phones “feels like using tech from another era,” according to Android’s campaign website.