Apple’s iMessage is winning because of the dreaded green text bubble

With just the with their mere presence, not to mention their handicapped lack of features, green bubbles from those who settle for pretend iPhones ruin group texts for everyone else who uses the real thing.

Apple’s iMessage is winning because of the dreaded green text bubble

Apple’s iMessage service is one of the world’s most widely used social networks and helped to cement the iPhone’s dominance among young smartphone users in the U.S., almost all of whom use Apple’s Messages app to communicate.

Tim Higgins for The Wall Street Journal:

As part of the [Epic Games v. Apple] battle, thousands of pages of internal records were made public. Some revealed a long-running debate about whether to offer iMessage on phones that run with Google’s Android operating system. Apple made a critical decision: Keep iMessage for Apple users only.

From the beginning, Apple got creative in its protection of iMessage’s exclusivity. It didn’t ban the exchange of traditional text messages with Android users but instead branded those messages with a different color; when an Android user is part of a group chat, the iPhone users see green bubbles rather than blue. It also withheld certain features. There is no dot-dot-dot icon to demonstrate that a non-iPhone user is typing, for example, and an iMessage heart or thumbs-up annotation [Tapback] has long conveyed to Android users as text instead of images.

The cultivation of iMessage is consistent with Apple’s broader strategy to tie its hardware, software and services together in a self-reinforcing world—dubbed the walled garden—that encourages people to pay the premium for its relatively expensive gadgets and remain loyal to its brand.

MacDailyNews Take: You want real Messages? Get a real iPhone. Apple’s iPhone SE starts at $399 which is simply not “relatively expensive” vs. the cost of settling for a pretend iPhone and its handicapped green bubbles.

“With iMessage we built a great service that our users love and that is different from those offered by other platforms,” [Apple] said in a statement.

“These teenagers will continue to become consumers in the future and hopefully continue to buy phones into their 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s,” said Harsh Kumar, an analyst for Piper Sandler. The firm recently found that 87% of teens surveyed last year own iPhones.

Apple’s iMessage plays a significant role in the lives of young smartphone users and their parents, according to data and interviews with a dozen of these people. Teens and college students said they dread the ostracism that comes with a green text. The social pressure is palpable, with some reporting being ostracized or singled out after switching away from iPhones.

“In my circle at college, and in high school rolling over into college, most people have iPhones and utilize a lot of those kinds of iPhone specific features” together, said Ms. Lowitz, the Michigan student… Jocelyn Maher, a 24-year-old master’s student in upstate New York, said her friends and younger sister have mocked her for exchanging texts with potential paramours using Android phones. “I was like, `Oh my gosh, his texts are green,’ and my sister literally went, `Ew that’s gross,’” Ms. Maher said.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, it is gross.

From a U.S. teen we just briefly interviewed: “There was this one kid in music theory who had an Android and I was like (makes face, rolls eyes). Because it’s a type; it’s a red flag.”MacDailyNews, July 2, 2019

As for Ms. Lowitz, the Michigan college student, she was glad when her switch to Android—brought about by her participation in a paid research study—came to an end. She was ready to get back to her iPhone. “There’s too much within the Apple network for me to switch,” she said.

Anna Fuder, 19, a friend at Michigan who had declined to participate in the study for fear of giving up her iPhone, was overjoyed. “As soon as she switched back to her iPhone, it was like hallelujah,” Ms. Fuder said. “Blue again.”

MacDailyNews Take: It’s simple, really: Get a real iPhone.

We don’t have a ton, thankfully, but we do have a few poor souls who text us with their ugly, dysfunctional green bubbles and it’s a awful experience. They can’t do much of anything. They can’t execute or experience any of the cool stuff we Messages users can. It’s just plain sad.

Our Message for them is always the same: “Get a real iPhone!”

Several of them have and they’ve thanked us profusely for the advice. — MacDailyNews, October 19, 2018

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  1. Apple’s spectacular integration of peripherals, applications, and services across all of their device families is unmatched. Those who don’t use Apple products (or who refuse to use them as intended) really have no idea what they are missing. Being ‘all in’ on Apple delivers a vastly superior user experience of other device and platform vendors.

  2. “The cultivation of iMessage is consistent with Apple’s broader strategy to tie its hardware, software and services together in a self-reinforcing world—dubbed the walled garden—that encourages people to pay the premium for its relatively expensive gadgets”

    I always find it interesting that some writers like to phrase it as Apple is trapping users! For expensive gadgets! Obviously it couldn’t be that Apple had spend a huge amount of money to create a product and product eco that many users find best for them. And this “expensive” stuff comes with unrivaled longevity and second market(used) value. Which is not to say it is or isn;t ultimately more expensive (that would take some data points) it is to say that some media likes to keep it dumb by not even contemplating how long the value of the dollar your spending will last.

    1. Yes, really? green vs blue? what is what is most important in life? how petty and superficial…

      AND a WHOLE article about this to boot…. wow, how low the level of journalism and news has fallen.

  3. I prefer Apples iMessages but in Europe most people use Whatsapp or Signal. To be honest, there are a few things that Apple could copy from them, eg. sharing a contact and being able to choose which elements of the contact to be shared.

  4. The primary reason my godson got an iPhone was that women were rejecting him for having green bubbles. I think this is as much a reflection of the dating world as anything else, but wow. Women get so much attention online they can filter out men for any reason, and still have tons of attention.

    Getting an iphone increased his success. Put that into a commercial, Apple!

  5. You may take any mobile phone number and try to send an iMessage to it. If the phone number or its name (if you have it in your Contacts app already) appears blue, the other hand is an iPhone. If it’s green it does not mean it is not an iPhone, it means the other hand is not connected to iCloud (yes, an iPhone can be not connected and appear green).

    1. I don’t know if this is the cause of my problems, but I periodically can’t send iMessages (“message could not be sent”). The color of the text bubble is less important to me than the reliability of the message’s transmission, something iMessage fails at all too often.

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