Apple’s iPhone will embrace the RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging standard that serves as the backbone for modern text messages for all other phones.
The tech giant told 9to5Mac that its phones would support the RCS standard, which allow provide an array of iMessage-style features for Android and iPhone users when texting each other.
Apple has long resisted adopting RCS, and instead has focused on building out the features for its own iMessage, creating the dynamic of the blue vs. green bubbles. Blue bubble (iMessage) users enjoy everything from emojis to edited messages, while a green bubble, or standard text message exchange, is far more limited. Apple’s incorporating RCS will make the experience for Android and iPhone users a lot more robust.
The move doesn’t mean that Apple is opening up iMessage, so the blue-green bubble dynamic will continue. But RCS will sit as a compatible form of messaging every time an Android user pings an iPhone.
RCS will allow users to share their location with people within text threads, something only available between iPhone users in iMessage. RCS will also be able to work over Wi-Fi in addition to cellular, while older text messages only work on cellular.
This comes after rivals Samsung and Google have called for Apple to embrace the wider standard. The telecom carriers, likewise, have long championed RCS as the next generation of text messaging. Apple has largely ignored those calls, boasting a large enough base of users to sustain its own iMessage ecosystem. Google was attempting to argue to the European Commission that Apple’s large presence should require it to be interoperable with other systems.
A spokesman for Apple wasn’t immediately available for comment.