Apple’s new iMessage is great, but why the hell isn’t it on Android, yet?

“Apple’s big messaging moves were among the biggest and most unexpected announcements of Tim Cook’s WWDC keynote Monday,” David Pierce writes for Wired. “iMessage gained a host of features, from ‘invisible ink’ that hides a message until it’s swiped, to in-line Apple Music links that play seamlessly in-app, to ‘digital touch,” which lets you send images you draw, or even your heartbeat. It’s also, like Facebook Messenger, now open to third-party developers.”

“All of this is big. It’s good news for Apple, since it’ll undoubtedly convince a few holdouts to get iPhones so they can use all the cool new features with their friends,” Pierce writes. “If Apple wants to be more than an iPhone company, though, if it wants to be a software and services company the way it claims, there’s one other thing it needed to do: make iMessage for Android.”

“Facebook Messenger isn’t an ‘app’ in the traditional sense, it’s an ecosystem. A whole world, from app stores to payment structures, all happening within Apple’s devices but outside of its direct reach. It doesn’t matter which hardware you’re holding, what you’re using is Messenger. As apps and services continue to stress cross-platform harmony, Apple’s walled garden starts to look more like a co-op,” Pierce writes. “By that logic, Apple will succeed only if it not only hosts these full-stack, do-everything apps, but builds them as well… Unless Apple’s afraid that iMessage is the only thing between iPhone owners and Android phones, the way BBM was for BlackBerry back in the day, there’s plenty of upside in opening iMessage to everyone. Oh, and ask BlackBerry how going the closed-off route turned out.”

Much more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: Certainly, iMessage is not the only thing keeping people on iPhones and we do believe that Apple has further plans for iMessage that will be revealed in good time.

Apple’s iMessage and Siri will allow iOS 10 users to send money via Square Cash – June 13, 2016
Apple to deliver iMessage to Android at WWDC – June 9, 2016


    1. As I wrote before, adding Android support to iMessage would be poor move — I haver personally heard too many stories that messaging the cementing factor for whole families and friends to gather around Apple’s ecosystem.

      There is simply no reason why would Apple want to kill this competitive advantage.

      1. By the way: in his article David Pierce comes from totally faulty premise as reason why Apple can/should release iMessage for Android: he sings things like Apple releasing Music for Android as sort of Apple opening up.

        In reality the only reason why Apple released Music for Android is because it is not a competitive advantage of iOS/iPhone, even if it is better service than Spotify; Spotify is good enough for people to stay on it. iMessage is totally opposite story; Apple does not need to reach out to wide market in this case.

        Pierce also frames it in “if Apple wants to be more than iPhone company…” then they should release iMessage for Android. But there is no money in such move, and risks for harm to Apple’s business. And there is nothing wrong with being an iPhone company — it has made Apple the most successful public company in history.

  1. I think the problem with delivering iMessage for android is two fold: security and device support.

    If apple were to deliver iMessage for android it would have to test which devices can handle all of the features so it works properly, and make sure they are capable of full device encryption. So off the top of my head, devices running android 6.0 or later with specific hardware. Apple can do so many wonderful things with iMessage simply because it controls the hardware and it knows what it’s devices are capable of. I think they also have to double down on security to make iMessage secure on android… It would have to be sandboxed and kept separate from the crazy security holes in the android os.

    1. I agree, but also consider the substantial hit to their servers. They would have to at least double their network capacity or risk a total meltdown if it caught on. I’m not sure having iMessage installed on an Android phone (especially given that the experience probably wouldn’t be as good on the majority of poor spec Android phones out there) would make the Android user any more or less likely to switch to iOS. It probably serves Apple quite well to have it as an exclusive club for their users, making some Android users feel left out. So it’s probably not worth all the time, effort and money for Apple to bother with.

  2. Well, I was actually hoping for Apple to announce the same thing, but they didn’t. Makes me wonder though if the new extensibility features will allow support for 3rd party messaging protocols? This would make the need for iMessage on Android moot if you could just chat with ANYONE on any platform through the Messages app – provided the developer creates an extension.

  3. My guess is that it is too deeply integrated into iOS to be a standalone app on any/some/one of the various Android builds out there. Not to mention that fragmentation of Android OS would also make it almost impossible to craft a consistent app/experience.

  4. So Apple made a nice ecosystem in which they can write programs and control things with a known platform and Android fans want Apple to do things the hard way and write their program(s) for a fragmented, insecure OS/platform. That’s going a little backwards. Most programs would die for a cohesive platform like iOS. Just like with the desktop OSes, Apple provided something the other systems didn’t have – a great user experience with OS X. If users want the Apple experience, they can get an Apple and have the real deal.

  5. I’m guessing it’s because, “What does Apple get out of it?” With Boot Camp on the Mac to support Windows, it’s not a favor to Windows people, it’s so that they can easily sell Macs to Windows people. With iTunes on Windows, it was first, to sell and support iPods, then later sell media, and also sell iPhones (since the initial iPhones needed to sync to computers). When Apple builds and releases software for a different platform, it’s only if Apple is going to benefit in some way. If Apple were to sell things through Messages, then they probably would make it cross platform. But, if Apple is not going to get any sort of return by releasing software on a different platform, then why bother? The reason Facebook messenger is on all platforms is because that’s how they make money, selling the data of the people using their software. Apple doesn’t do that.

  6. I don’t think Apple ever claimed that it wants to be a software and services company. What is the benefit to Apple if iMessage is on Android? None, because that is one less reason to buy an iPhone.

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