And why has it got Apple and Android feuding once more?

If you want the latest scoop on the sassy drama the big techs are throwing at each other, we’ve got you covered. In case you missed it, Android called out Apple once again in a tweet saying, “Happy New Year, Apple! Your users deserve to finally have a modern texting experience.” They then proceeded to reveal code for the giant to “start upgrading to RCS” as a little CES2023 gift. All this passive aggression is a bit lost without the context so let’s get a little acquainted with the inner workings to enjoy the drama properly. Because who doesn’t love some good tea?

What is RCS?

In contrast to SMS and MMS, which it has referred to as "out-of-date" technology, a thing of the past for those still living in the glory of the 1990s and 2000s, Google has been promoting Rich Communication Services (RCS) as "the new industry standard." It has a significant number of technological advancements that would help improve the messaging experience between Android and iOS users. 

What makes it better?

RCS, a "modern industry standard," is proposed by Google as the answer. Notably, the giant is asking Apple to embrace RCS for the very specific cause of enabling texting between Android and iOS. Stubborn as ever, Apple has reaffirmed its prior comments that iMessage on Android is undesirable and claims that this won't impact iMessage (iPhone to iPhone chats).

There is a fairly obvious solution. Apple can use RCS, the current industry standard, for these threads, making messaging better for everyone without modifying your iPhone to iPhone chats.

What makes RCS even more preferable is that given its use of a cloud back end, RCS enables higher-resolution attachments, gifs, improved group chatting with controls, passing over data, typing indicators, and E2EE. Google reported that as of May, there were 500 million monthly active users, with support from carriers worldwide.

Why are things heating up so much?

It’s no secret that Google has spent the last year increasingly calling out Apple for not adopting RCS (Rich Communication Services) on the iPhone. They seem to be running out of patience and have launched a “Get The Message” pressure campaign in hopes that Apple will change its mind on RCS. They strongly believe that It’s time for Apple to fix texting. And it's not just about the colour of the bubbles. iMessage is lacking with regards to texting over wifi and no read receipts and those tiny photos and videos too! Google believes that Apple creates these problems when we text from iPhones to Android phones and vice-versa, but does nothing to fix it. The Android Get The Message website even ends by suggesting “other messaging apps” to the users including newer apps like Signal and WhatsApp.

Want in on the propaganda? 

This hasn’t been the first of Android’s campaign towards Apple. They have even launched a New Year's-themed ad in Las Vegas saying "the ball may have dropped on 2022, but you don't have to drop the ball on fixing your pixelated photos and videos." Once again the ad is followed by lines of code "to get the ball rolling." Google's campaign against Apple continued in December with a "happy birthday" post for SMS, which turned 30 recently.

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, he doesn't get many requests from customers asking for the texting between iPhones and Android phones to be fixed. In response to a question from an audience member using an iPhone regarding problems with videos sent between him and his mother, who used an Android device, Cook advised the audience member to "Buy your mom an iPhone." But for the most part, Apple is convinced moving iMessage to Android will hurt them more than help them.

So the battle continues. The real question is which side are you on?