If you were hoping to see an announcement at Apple’s Far Out event that it was switching to RCS for messaging, you were disappointed. And if you’re still hoping for the feature to come to iPhones soon, you’ll be disappointed, too.
At Vox Media’s 2022 Code Conference, Tim Cook was asked about the entire iPhone iOS texting problem and had a pretty blunt response: “I don’t hear our users asking that we put a lot of effort into that, at this point. That’s probably true. But users probably weren’t clamoring for the Dynamic Island either and look how awesome that is.
Apple is under increasing pressure from Google to adopt the Rich Communication Services standard, which is basically iMessage for plain text. As it stands, Messages uses SMS to send messages to Android users by default, and the results can be shaky, especially when it comes to media. Anyone who has tried to send a photo or video to Android users can recognize it: the recipient will likely see an unreadable, blurry mess.
But Cook doesn’t really care. When asked about that same issue, he told the person, “I’d like to convert you to an iPhone.” And when Cook was again faced with sending blurry photos to their mom’s Android phone, Cook joked, “Buy your mom an iPhone.”
Cook may be joking, but he’s also very serious. Despite a massive ad campaign from Google and attention from high-profile media outlets like The New York Times and Wall Street Journal (even Macworld columnist Jason Snell thinks RCS should happen), Apple isn’t too keen on changing its system. iMessage’s exclusivity is a feature, not a bug, and the green bubbles only serve to enhance it.
Apple will probably switch to RCS one day, though for no other reason than that it’s more secure than SMS. But don’t expect it soon.