Apple to deliver iMessage to Android at WWDC

Apple will announce that iMessage encrypted text messaging is coming to Android users at WWDC next Monday at WWDC 2016, according to a source familiar with the company’s thinking.

This will make it possible for Android and iOS users to communicate securely as iMessage features end-to-end encryption – even Apple cannot access users’ messages. Currently, iMessage is accessible through the Messages app on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 5 or later or on a Mac running OS X Mountain Lion or later. In February, Eddie Cue announced that the number of iMessages sent surpassed 200,000 per second.

Apple is increasingly focused on services which means opening up certain avenues beyond its own iOS and OS X platforms, the source says, specifically noting reports of Apple adding person-to-person Apple Pay payments via Messages. The company released Apple Music for Android last November.

The source notes that plans are constantly in flux leading up to Apple keynotes and the timing of the announcement could change, but that the iMessage instant messenger service would “definitely” be coming to Android this year. As this is a single-sourced item, it’s been filed under “rumor.”

MacDailyNews Take: Such a move would be welcomed by those of us who have to communicate with those who’ve settled for a lesser, derivative platform and would love to finally be able to do so via Wi-Fi and without having to be subjected to those horrid green bubbles from the Hee Haw demographic.

SEE ALSO:
Apple wants to let you make payments through Messages, Mail, Phone, and Calendar – December 31, 2015
Why Apple wants to get into the unprofitable world of payments between friends – December 1, 2015
Apple is making a grab for Venmo’s P2P payments turf and might use iMessage to do it – November 13, 2015
Apple discussing mobile person-to-person payment service with major U.S. banks – November 11, 2015

46 Comments

    1. I disagree. NO ONE gets a Mac or iPhone to use iMessage. It’s NOT the killer app, especially with Telegram, Viber, Line, KakaoTalk, WhatsApp, WeChat…. the market is littered with chat alternatives…. but there is no unifying message app.

      My immediate family is on iOS, but parents use Android phones. It would be great for them to have iMessage. It would be even better if they had FaceTime.

      iMessage on Android guarantees that EVERY iOS friend will be able to receive your message without asking them to install an App.

      Own the service, Apple… worry less about lock-in. If you build a compelling product, people will stick with you. You don’t need to lock them in.

      1. Except they do. When people you know are on the same platform, it matters.

        As for “lock in”, it’s the same as any business that has an ecosystem. It’s not some 100% bad thing.

      2. Excellent. Also: while iOS products do have a halo effect, the majority of iPhone users are still in the Windows camp[1]. I’d like to see iMessage extended to that platform (the desktop, not dead Windows Mobile). Apple needs to show the industry that its cloud services endeavors are not an afterthought.

      3. Excellent. Also: while iOS products do have a halo effect, the majority of iPhone users are still in the Windows camp[1]. I’d like to see iMessage extended to that platform (the desktop, not dead Windows Mobile). Apple needs to show the industry that its cloud services endeavors are not an afterthought.

        [1] I can’t recall the source of that claim, but it’s out there.

      4. There is a unifying app, it’s called Disa, Google it.
        It supports sms, Facebook messenger and WhatsApp for now, a telegram plugin is being developed right now by the team.

        1. It can’t be unifying if you must install an app to use it.

          iMessage is part of the iOS. You don’t need a separate app in order to use it. That is the fundamental reason why iOS users find it mildly to moderately annoying to have to switch to Viber, WhatsApp, WeChat and whatever other service non-iOS people may be using in order to send a message without using mobile operator’s SMS services (and incurring possible associated charges).

      5. Actually, it’s the primary reason I have an iPhone. Where I live there is no cell service, so the only way I can easily communicate by text without requiring my family to use a separate app for chat with me is with iMessage because they all have Apple devices. I’ve been an Apple computer user since the mid 90s, but I’d actually prefer an android phone. With iMessage now coming to android, I may abandon iOS.

        1. Does your carrier not offer WiFi calling/texting? If you live in the US that’s standard I believe, and in many other countries it is as well.
          A carrier called T-Mobile even gives people a cell tower box for free that connects to their wifi so if they have an older phone without wifi calling/texting they can use that.

      6. You’re very wrong. The ONLY reason, and I do mean ONLY reason I still have and iPhone is iMessage. I have been saying that now for two years. The day iMessage hits Android is the day I buy an Android.

      7. depends on the generation my gf all her parents know is iphone and they refuse to learn anything outside of imessage and facetime, if my gf wants to video chat with them she has to have an iphone, its annoying and affected her last purchase especially when there are some nice $80 androids out there now.

    1. Not sure if Apple will actually go this way since there are a lot of people who prefer iPhone just because other family members use iMessage already. If this will not be a factor any more, Apple’s sales might suffer.

      Why would Apple give away its competitive advantage?

        1. They should get at least $10 for it, but I doubt if 99% of the Roid users would pay anything when they can get a rip off for less. Just look at their phone for a great example of this.

          Still, I am all for the service expanding. It may make more sense to give it away and then earn a cut of any financial transactions they do with it (and ApplePay, which assume would also extend to those pathetically FEW Androids that are capable of running it–only the direct Samsung rip offs with a remotely credible fingerprint recognition (direct touch ID rip off) sensor.

  1. I’m not sure Apple is going to do this, and here’s why…

    This sounds great at first. I’d love to be able to have everyone else using iMessage and see the death of SMS.

    However, that won’t happen. What will happen is that a fraction of Android users will install iMessage. Some portion of them will be complete idiots who won’t be able to figure out how to use it. There will be lots of complaining and bad-mouthing of Apple from the haters and in the end, we’ll end up with only a slight decrease in the number of “green blob friends”. Not enough to kill SMS.

    On the other hand, there are those who aren’t haters, but do feel like iMessage is one of the top things keeping them on the platform. I see comments like this all the time. As such, now they have one of the top benefits of iOS being available on Android.

    I just don’t see what’s in it for Apple or anyone else other than the few people who love iMessage, but would move to Android if it was available on that platform.

    1. Personally I use Telegram on my phone. Even my friends who use iPhone use Telegram. I only ever use regular texting for texting my parents.

      Telegram does free texting over Wi-Fi. You can also send files up to 1 GB in size. Not to mention you can create your own custom sticker packs and themes, but that’s less important.

      From what I hear iMessage does pretty much the same thing…it seems like a bit of a lateral move and maybe even a waste of storage space switching to another app that does the exact same thing.

      1. Telegram is part of the problem, not the solution.

        “Even my friends who use iPhone use Telegram.”

        Then you must live in a very small bubble. Telegram use, across all platforms is very small.

        From statista.com:
        WhatsApp is 10x more popular
        FaceBook Messenger is 9x more popular
        QQ Mobile is 8.6x more popular
        WeChat is 7x more popular
        Skype is 3x more popular
        Viber is 2.5x more popular
        LINE is 2x more popular
        BBM is even still slightly more popular

        “Telegram does free texting over Wi-Fi.”
        It’s a messaging app, not a texting app. From telegram.com/faq: “You can write to people who are in your phone contacts and have Telegram.

        “From what I hear iMessage does pretty much the same thing”

        Nope. iMessage offers texting, both sending and receiving regardless of what the end user has. You don’t need to think about what the recipient is using, you simply send a message. It goes through as a message if they have iMessage, and falls back on SMS if they don’t. All of this is near transparent to the user, with the only indication being the color of the dialogue bubble (blue for iMessage, green for SMS).

        “maybe even a waste of storage space switching to another app that does the exact same thing.”

        That’s the problem with Telegram. Since it’s not a popular messaging app compared to the competition, one would still need many other messaging apps to communicate to others.

        iMessage would, and in many cases has, resolved this by falling back on SMS for non-users.

        Further, iMessage already has hundreds of millions of users.

        1. It’s literally pretty much the same as texting. So much so that it might as well be called texting. You chose your contact, type out your message, press send. Pretty much the same exact experience sans the SMS protocol and the ridiculously small MMS size limits.

          Regardless of how popular Telegram is and how big my social circle is, Telegram exceeds my needs 99% of the time and it’s growing on a daily basis. You just listed 10 Wi-Fi texting apps off the top of your head…at this point, releasing iMessage for Android would just be adding another one to the pile.

          1. No, it’s very different from texting, which makes it a deal breaker for many.

            “So much so that it might as well be called texting.”
            The reason why it’s not is because it’s called Instant Messaging and it’s been around for a very long time.

            ” You chose your contact, type out your message, press send. “

            And the overwhelming majority of people in the US, and in the World won’t get your message because they don’t have the software.

            ” You just listed 10 Wi-Fi texting apps off the top of your head…”
            No I didn’t. I gave absolute comparison numbers and cited the source of the instant messaging services that are far more popular than Telegram.

            “Regardless of how popular Telegram is…”
            There is no “regardless” here, the popularity *is the point*. Like I said before, you’re living in a bubble, a very small bubble if it meets your needs 99% of the time. The overwhelming majority of people in the US and in the world would find that’s not the case. You can like it all you want, but that’s not going to change that fact.

            Just to be clear how small the bubble is you’re living in, worldwide, Telegram represents roughly 2% of users.

            “releasing iMessage for Android would just be adding another one to the pile.”
            Right, therein lies the rub. Since these services aren’t compatible with each other, it’s desirable to remove the ones from the bottom (in terms of numbers of users). Telegram is at the bottom and doesn’t offer any significant features that iMessage doesn’t have. There are a ton of others out there as well and the list I provided didn’t even include other systems that aren’t single-app specific that are far more popular.

            On the other hand, iMessage is far more popular already, and offers significant features Telegram doesn’t have… specifically the most important one is SMS which allows it to be backwards compatible with what is currently the overwhelmingly most ubiquitous messaging service type in use.

            1. The process for sending both texts and messages through Telegram is 100% identical, and the experience is nearly 100% identical as well. Only major difference I can think of is you get delivery and read reports. And it’s free, technically. It literally might as well be texting.

              Also I just looked at the features of iMessage on Apples website. Message forwarding, message deleting, encryption, conversation muting, attachment searching, location sharing…all standard features in almost all modern messaging apps. The one big ‘feature’ it doesn’t have is backwards compatibility with an outdated communication protocol that’s well on it’s way out the door. Big whoop.

              The only reason it’s so popular is because it comes with every iPhone shipped.

              And I really don’t get your whole ‘bubble’ argument…if I wanted I could open up the Telegram app right now and contact upwards of around 600 different people just from the people I’ve added to my contact list and the group chats I’m in. I’d say that bubble is plenty big enough for a single person…

            2. “The process for sending both texts and messages through Telegram is 100% identical, and the experience is nearly 100% identical as well.”

              No, it’s not. If you send a message with iMessage, there are hundreds of millions of people who will receive it be it on their phone, notebook, tablet, as an iMessage. Those who can’t receive it as an iMessage will receive it at an SMS/MMS.

              Compare this to Telegram where if you send a message, 98% of the people on the planet won’t receive anything at all as it doesn’t fall back to SMS/MMS and the number of people who have Telegram is TINY relative to iMessage and relative to many other messaging apps.

              “The only reason it’s so popular is because it comes with every iPhone shipped.

              That’s certainly one big reason, but the fact that’s a reason doesn’t negate the fact of the matter. However, it can’t be dismissed that using it “just works” because you don’t have to worry about who has the app.

              “And I really don’t get your whole ‘bubble’ argument…”

              It’s pretty simple. Look up Anecdotal Evidence: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anecdotal_evidence

              You’re in a bubble. A TINY microscopic bubble that represents 2% of reality. You’re saying 600 different people you know or 98% of who you’d send a message has Telegram and can receive it. I could point to the fact that nobody has ever tried to send me a Telegram message, and I don’t know a single person other than yourself who uses it. Both are anecdotal. However, the chance that any person is using Telegram is 2%. That’s a simple fact. If everyone you know is using Telegram, you’re in that 2% bubble and it’s not reflective of real-world usage.

              So you and your 600 people can continue using it… cheers, be happy with it, but 98% of the planet are going to be using many other things, none of which are compatible with Telegram. Meanwhile iMessage is compatible with virtually any cell phone and if they open it to Android (and Windows) virtually any computing device.

              “The one big ‘feature’ it doesn’t have is backwards compatibility…Big whoop.”

              Unless you’re like 12 or something, and thus wouldn’t understand, in the adult world, we can’t afford to send messages that don’t go through. We need to rely on non-proprietary standards as a basis for communication. SMS/MMS compatibility gives us that.

              Further, SMS/MMS runs on an entirely different cell network from data. In emergency situation where data connectivity may not be available, being able to fall back on SMS/MMS could be critical, if not extremely convenient.

              This is why Telegram has such a tiny minority usage share of the subset of messaging apps/services.

      1. They could, but I don’t see Apple going further into the ad business at this point, especially not in-app for something like iMessage.

        They could of course charge for the app, and many people seem willing to pay for it.

        I think the most likely scenario if they were to do this is what I overlooked in my original comment, that is that it could be used for P2P payments.

      2. They would never do that. Why? Why would anyone use an iPhone or care to when they get a stained experience and reputation when using their app on Android? Shooting someone down then asking them to join you is very counterintuitive.

    2. I use snapchat, sms, and messenger. Most of the people that I know with iPhones tend to prefer to use snapchat or messenger anyway. I know some use whatsapp but I haven’t tried it yet.

      Seriously, what is wrong with SMS/MMS? I get that some people don’t have cell service but they’re a minority and it’s not like the average joe strictly uses SMS only. Works over WiFi, works over cellular, and everyone with a sim card/cellphone plan has it.

      1. SMS/MMS have a lot of limitations, some which aren’t readily apparent. There are issues of security and encryption, and the way it works was really somewhat of a hack to begin with. Essentially SMS was created when someone figured out that phones need to poll the cell tower intermittently and instead of exchange meaningless data as a handshake, they could be exchanging messages. That window of data comes out to 140 characters, and originally SMS was only capable of that.

        They’ve messed with the protocol in many ways since then and now you can send messages that are much longer as well as send media files, but it’s still sort of based on that same hack. As such there are significant limitations on file sizes, and the speed of transfer isn’t anywhere close to where it could be.

        There are also features missing in the protocol regarding group messaging, forwarding, archiving, etc…

        That said, it’s a protocol that virtually any phone is capable of using and there are many gateways for SMS/MMS. The fact that it’s still based (in part) on the original polling hack means that SMS messages are likely to go through more so than anything else… like email, or a messaging app using data or even a phone call.

        The sweet thing about iMessage is that it offers all of the advantages of any modern messaging app, with the fall back to SMS/MMS if required. And it does it so transparently that most people have no idea… it just works.

  2. What’s in it for Apple? Watch as they start using iMessage for person to person payments. Including Hem’roids, I mean Androids, will create a much larger network of people who can receive and sent payments.

  3. Realize this: in America, iOS has a 48% share. Worldwide, Android has an 85% share. Since America is the #2 smartphone market (behind China) it means that in most markets, including developed, first world economies including Japan and Western Europe, Android market share is 80% or higher; 90% in some large markets (like India). Gotta quit thinking that upper-class Americans, like 2% of the global population, are all that matters. Apple is a global company, so its products need a global reach. With the moves that Apple is making lately, it is obvious that the Google-Apple war is over. Instead, Apple is largely acknowledging that Google’s approach of maximizing market share to use to distribute cloud-based software and services was right from the beginning. Microsoft essentially adopted Google’s approach 2 years ago with their new CEO, and now Apple is throwing up their hands and following suit.

    Google may not bring in the revenue that the legacy players i.e. Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and Samsung do but their way of doing business is still carrying the day.

    Also, the only reason why Apple didn’t do this before was because up until recently they were still hoping that Android would fail, and that Google and Samsung would give up on it. But after the Oracle trial revealed that Google is indeed making a good bit of money on Android, and with more and more new companies making good, compelling devices (making Google less reliant on Samsung) plus more and more developers that used to release apps solely on iOS beginning to also release apps on Android, and also the utter, total collapse of Windows Mobile, they realized that Android isn’t going anywhere for the time being. If Apple had acknowledged this 3-4 years ago and come out with iMessage, iTunes etc. for Android then, they would be in a much better position to use Android as a platform for revenue as they did with Windows for years … remember iTunes on Windows, as well as most iPad and iPhone owners have Windows PCs. I do not know why they were so willing to support Windows for so long with iTunes and Safari but were so standoffish with Android. Apple knew that there was going to be a #2 mobile OS to serve the needs of those who were lower on the income scale and/or needed more flexibility from their devices than Apple is winning to offer. It almost makes you think that they were hoping that Microsoft Mobile would beat Google and Android in the marketplace and be it. (Instead, Microsoft gave up and started focusing on getting their apps on as many Android phones as possible, while not even releasing most of those apps on their own mobile platform.) I wonder why?

  4. Just wanted to say hi and send my lols to the wealthy white people gasping and quaking with fear at the thought of iMessage opening up to an audience wider than their gated community.

    Don’t worry, it’ll be okay. Finish up that burrito bowl, hit your bikram yoga sesh, and have a great day.

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