A confusingly-worded part of Apple’s iOS 16 characteristic checklist sparked claims that the corporate took credit score for a characteristic Google added to its Messages app earlier this 12 months. Nonetheless, it appears Apple isn’t taking credit score — it simply added the same functionality to iOS 16.
David Imel, a author and researcher for MKBHD, noticed Apple’s new declare on the iOS 16 characteristic web page and shared the discover on Twitter. Beneath the ‘Messages’ part is the heading “SMS Tapbacks on Android,” which says:
“React to SMS messages with a Tapback, and a corresponding emoji response will seem on recipients’ Android units.”
Tapback is the identify Apple gave to iMessage reactions — these tiny emojis which you can add to messages you obtain. Apple added these to its Messages app years in the past, however whereas they had been enjoyable for iMessage (blue bubble) customers, they had been a bit of odd with the outdated SMS and MSS (inexperienced bubbles) requirements. Replying to SMS messages with a Tapback would ship an SMS textual content to the opposite particular person within the dialog with one thing like “Liked ‘Textual content’” or “Laughed at ‘Textual content.’”
— David ImeI (@DurvidImel) September 28, 2022
A minimum of, that’s the way it was till January 2022. Google added a characteristic to its Messages app for Android that transforms incoming Tapbacks into emoji reactions. In different phrases, as an alternative of “Liked ‘Textual content,’” customers would simply see a 😍 emoji seem on the message bubble with ‘Textual content.’
It’s that characteristic addition that Apple seems to reference on the iOS 16 characteristic web page. And whereas the language is unquestionably complicated, Droid-Life identified that Apple is speaking a few completely different characteristic fully. Apparently, iOS 16 modified the Tapback perform to ship an emoji as an alternative of textual content (i.e. as an alternative of “Liked ‘Textual content,’” you’d get “😍 to ‘Textual content’”). The publication additionally shared a picture illustrating the distinction between Apple’s improved Tapback characteristic in iOS 16 and Google’s Messages characteristic:
The entire thing is undeniably complicated, arguably as a result of each Apple and Google preserve implementing bizarre modifications in a patchwork try to make messaging between iPhone and Android suck much less. One thing that might be resolved if Apple simply adopted RCS. However, Apple has blatantly refused to take action, and right here we’re.
Apple nonetheless refuses to undertake RCS
As a fast refresher on the state of affairs, RCS is a brand new messaging normal created by Google (and carriers, though Google appears to have largely left carriers behind to make RCS globally accessible). RCS replaces the older SMS and MMS requirements, enabling a contemporary messaging expertise with increased res picture and video sharing, higher group chat help, and extra.
In the meantime, Apple “solved” the SMS and MMS drawback by creating iMessage, its personal fashionable messaging platform that solely works between Apple units. iMessages seem in blue bubbles and have a ton of additional options, like Tapbacks, higher picture and video sharing, group chats, and extra. Nonetheless, when an iPhone consumer messages somebody with out an iPhone, it falls again to SMS/MMS (proven with inexperienced bubbles) and all these further options individuals have come to like vanish. The distinction is so drastic that it’s began inflicting social points — for instance, children exclude individuals who don’t have iPhones from teams simply due to the inexperienced bubble.
Now, it’s price noting that this drawback is considerably worse in North America, the place iPhone adoption is mostly increased. In lots of different areas, most individuals depend on third-party messaging companies like WhatsApp, no matter which smartphone model they use.
Nonetheless, individuals have referred to as for Apple so as to add help for RCS, which might considerably enhance the default iPhone-to-Android messaging expertise. Google has additionally launched into a marketing campaign to disgrace Apple into supporting RCS. Apple wouldn’t even have to scrap iMessage to do it — RCS may nonetheless be a part of the inexperienced bubbles. However, Apple has made it clear it has no plans to make this occur, to the purpose that CEO Tim Cook dinner publicly informed somebody to purchase an iPhone to resolve inexperienced bubble messaging points.
And the rationale Apple is so eager to maintain the subpar SMS expertise round is that iMessage is an efficient software to maintain individuals utilizing iPhones. That thought course of was revealed throughout the Epic Video games trial when emails from Apple execs had been printed detailing how Apple depends on iMessage to lock clients into the platform.