Apple has reportedly confirmed plans to support the Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging standard in 2024 to improve communications between Android and iPhone devices.
This comes after years of pressure from companies including Google and Samsung for Apple to enable easy communication between its devices and Android devices.
Apple has resisted using RCS, offering its own iMessage system alongside MMS and SMS options.
In a statement released to various media across the world, Apple explained it will add “support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association” later in 2024.
It explained it believes “RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS”.
Apple stated RCS would work alongside its iMessage service, “which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience” for its customers.
CCS Insight chief analyst Ben Wood stated on LinkedIn the European Union’s Digital Markets Act “has undoubtedly been a key factor in this decision” by Apple to embrace RCS.
Recon Analytics founder and lead analyst Roger Entner told Mobile World Live “champagne corks are popping on Google’s campus”.
“I am surprised because Apple has driven iMessage as a massive differentiator.”
“This is huge.”
Entner noted it remained to be seen how Apple would handle the various feature sets of the different messaging platforms once RCS goes live.
“How will it work when an Apple person creates a group with Android people?”
The GSMA, Google and a number of operators created an initiative covering the implementation of RCS on Android devices in 2016.
Compared with SMS or MMS, the GSMA states RCS enables better features across payments, chatbots, location sharing, high-resolution images and videos, group chats and popular services akin to WhatsApp.
The Verge previously reported Apple CEO Tim Cook dismissed the company using RCS in September 2022 because users were not asking for it.