Skip to comments.Wireless carriers reportedly surprised by Apple's iMessage feature
Posted on 06/07/2011 10:57:39 AM PDT by Swordmaker
Apple's wireless carrier partners were surprised to learn of Apple's new iOS 5 messaging feature during Monday's WWDC keynote, according to a new report.
iOS 5, which is due out this fall, features a new messaging service, allowing iPad and iPod touch users to "join the conversation." iMessage allows unlimited text messages via Wi-Fi or 3G from one mobile iOS device to another. Built right into the Messages app, users can send text, photos, videos, locations and contacts.
iMessage will also support delivery receipts and option read receipts, along with secure encryption for text messages. Conversations can also be tracked on multiple devices with the same owner.
John Gruber of Daring Fireball reports that "a well-informed little birdie" told him that "Apples phone carrier partners around the world found out about iMessages when we did: during todays keynote." Gruber's industry sources have been reliable in the past.
The news of Apple's iMessage may have been quite the shock for wireless providers, which bring in substantial revenue from SMS plans. Gruber himself noted that he plans to cancel his SMS plan as soon as iMessage is available. The feature will also compete against a number of iOS apps that offer SMS-like functionality.
iMessage has drawn comparisons to Research in Motion's proprietary BlackBerry Messaging service. Though BBM initially served as a draw to the platform, RIM has struggled as consumers have increasingly chosen Apple's iPhone and Google Android in recent years. AT&T chief Ralph de la Vega said last week that AT&T customers have been "choosing other products rather than traditional BlackBerries."
Apple has at times been at odds with the wireless carriers over new features in the iPhone. Late last year, European carriers threatened to discontinue subsidies for the iPhone after reports emerged that Apple was developing an embedded SIM card that would allow customers to shop for wireless service directly from the Apple store.
A subsequent report suggested that Apple had backed down from its plans because of carrier opposition. The France Telecom CEO said last month that Apple had agreed on a compromise to use a smaller card instead of an e-SIM.
In addition to iMessage, iOS 5 packs 200 new user features and 1,500 new APIs, including an all-new Notification Center, a PC-free design and Newsstand, a new way to purchase and organize newspaper and magazine subscriptions. The free software update will be available for iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, iPod touch (fourth generation) and iPod touch (third generation) this fall, though some features may not be available on all products.
I havent had time to drill down through all the reports on the announcement. I just figured Id ask the Sword and see if he knew.
I was just cracking wise, that was clear.
What is also clear is that a system which includes only a central server farm for the entire country (if not indeed the entire world) would be far less robust than one which also had distributed local servers as well.Seems like that huge central farm would have a bullseye on it by hackers, if not terrorists.
It isn’t ubiquity as much as ubiquity tied with simplicity. There are several (free) IM apps that work across platforms already. Many designed to mimic BBM as well. They all require some type of registration process and so forth. It is more drawn out, and not worth the trouble when you can just use SMS.
I can’t figure out why Google never released a native GTalk app for iPhone. That would have gone a long way toward accomplishing this in the US at least.
Still have a long way to go on ubiquity as well. I’m down to a precious few without a smartphone, but as it happens the most frequently texted is not on a smartphone yet. So that isn’t happening. I would also say whatever does away with SMS has to be cross platform because competition is here to stay.
Smartphones have, pretty much from the beginning, had access to AIM, Google chat, Yahoo chat, etc. I had an AIM client on my Treo. The main advantage of SMS, as you point out, is ubiquity; the simplest "feature phone," as the kids are calling them these days, can do it.
I don't see iMessage as a direct challenge to SMS. I see it more as a feature-for-feature challenge to Blackberry Messenger, which is cited by a number of Blackberry users as a reason to stick with that platform. With receipts and encryption, iMessage eliminates one reason for individuals, and especially companies, to stick with Blackberry.
I just learned that iMessage requires you to do absolutely nothing. That is nice for those who have to set up phones for less technologically adept friends and family. iMessage will just detect if it is communicating with another iOS device and if so use iMessage rather than SMS. Maybe y’all were aware of this, but I wasn’t. It definitely one ups everyone else in this regard big time even compared to BBM.
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