Should Apple bring iMessage to Android?


(Simon B) #1

This is a really interesting article. Is Apple really committed to making quality software? If they are… This is probably something they should consider. They knew that they couldn’t make a serious dent in streaming without Apple Music being available on Android, and so they did that. So, if Apple is serious about these messages they use in marketing about “security” and “privacy” etc… Then, as this article suggests, they should morally commit to it and take the fight to WhatsApp/Telegram across platforms etc, right?

What do you think?


(Andre Borie) #2

I’d love for this to happen (and WhatsApp to die in a fire alongside FB) but one of the issues I can see is spam.

iMessage currently uses iOS serial numbers to authenticate devices during provisioning (when you first power on a device it’ll present its serial number & other parameters and exchange those for a set of client certificates). I assume they are rate-limiting traffic from each device to a reasonable amount to avoid massive, automated spam. If someone wants to do large-scale spam the only way is to get access to a lot of iOS devices to get the keys from; this is expensive (and also difficult since you need to get superuser access on the device).

On Android, none of that exists. Simulating any arbitrary Android device is trivial, so they will no longer be able to use the “device” aspect to limit spam. They can’t ban devices either because the spammer can quickly generate one with another serial number and start spamming again. There’s also no issue with getting root access on the device to retrieve the APK and reverse-engineer the protocol to make spambots (on iOS it’s not just a simple app - the iMessage logic is closely tied to the overall push notification mechanism).


(David Walton) #3

I’d be very surprised - but also very happy - if they did release iMessage for other platforms especially Android (which is in dire need of it!)
It would likely reduce the sales of Apple handsets by a not inconsequential amount if they did - more and more people would continue to use Android rather than switch to Apple.

But the Google/Android alternative(s) are not good - ensuring the growth of WhatsApp, et al. Hangouts was OK but diversified too much. Allo had good & secure features for personal use but it was launched too early without needed features and lost traction unbelievably quickly. Messages uses (unencrypted) RCS, but is a glorified text app at the moment with what appears to be a slow uptake of the features RCS promised - network dependant.

I have 5 different apps for messaging installed at the mo. Five and that’s because I refuse to use another 2 that are popular/secure. A big kick up the messaging backside required.


(If there's the wrong end of a stick, you'll find me holding it.) #4

I wonder how how many families there are, like mine, where everyone has an iPhone? There’d be a fair bit of friction if anyone jumped to Android.

If iMessage was available on Android, however…?


#5

I’d be happy if RCS was implemented better and iMessages supported it too. :woman_shrugging:

Is it only Vodafone who have enabled it in the UK so far?


(Richard) #6

I know a family who is 100% iPhone… yet they insist on having what’s app as their primary method of communication… no idea why…


(Andre Borie) #7

No end-to-end encryption and its dubious security (remember how insecure SMS is with regards to interception & caller ID spoofing) makes it a huge vector for spam & malware. RCS is thankfully dead and will never take off.


#8

iMessage handles group chats very poorly (in my experience) - I have a WhatsApp group chat for my 100% iPhone family.

I’d be happy for Android to have iMessage, but I’m so surprised no one (Google), hasn’t made an absolute beast of a messaging app that can replace WhatsApp/Facebook messenger etc.


#9

Honestly, there are far too many operators now. Thankfully I’ve managed to ditch facebook so messenger is no longer in the equation, but I recently had to download Telegram to talk to a couple of my friends. More choice is NOT better.


(Adam) #10

Having never been an iOS user can someone please enlighten me…

What’s the big deal with iMessage? How’s it different from having WhatsApp?

I know people who’ve thought about moving over to Android but said to not have iMessage has been the deciding factor to stick with iPhones.


(Stuart) #11

I cannot wait to get shot of my S9 and get another iPhone.

Android is truly abysmal.


(Paul) #12

I’m in the same boat. I send a group message via iMessage and for a few days it happens then WhatsApp creeps back in annoyingly


(Richard) #13

I guess in one respect text message and iMessage are kept in the same place and if an iMessage fails to send you can push it via text.

Also it’s one less app on the phone…


(Adam) #14

It sounds like there needs to be a decent texting app which does what iMessage does that’s cross platform.

I just use WhatsApp these days :man_shrugging:

I kinda feel like Apple are what Microsoft was like not long ago. A little too protective to the point where they don’t open up to the idea of using their software on other operating systems.

Google and Microsoft develop for iOS, Apple don’t appear to do the same in return.


(Jolin) #15
  1. Some of us don’t trust Facebook (who own WhatsApp)

  2. Using Signal or Wire would be great, but not many people are using them

  3. There’s no standard messaging app for Android so you end up needing several different apps to message people; on an iPhone, pretty much everyone (99.9%?) has iMessage enabled, so you can use the one app

Those are my reasons for preferring it, at least. I’d be happy to use any decent quality, secure, private messaging service if I knew that there was a very high chance that I could contact anyone else on it.


(Andre Borie) #16

iMessage is transparent. It’s the default on iOS - there’s no app to install, and if the recipient doesn’t have it it just gets sent as SMS; so there’s no thinking about whether you should use SMS or a certain messaging app - you just use one app (which is already on your iPhone by default) and it tries to use the better option (iMessage) and falls back to SMS if it can’t.

If WhatsApp wasn’t malicious I’d probably just use that and call it a day, but otherwise iMessage is a great solution. But even WA has the drawback (at least on iPhone - on Android they can use APIs to send SMS if they want to) that you need to think whether the other person has WA installed before you use it.


(Simon B) #17

It’ll hurt them in the long run if they try to do a services play (which they’ll need to, sooner or later, just like Microsoft who finally opened up when Nadella became CEO). Game-changing software needs to be platform independent. They knew this when they did iTunes, and they still do with Apple Music, but why does this attitude seem to be limited to music/entertainment?


(Andre Borie) #18

They knew this when they did iTunes, and they still do with Apple Music, but why does this attitude seem to be limited to music/entertainment?

I guess it’s because it’s easier to measure the impact of services for which people pay directly (such as iTunes or Apple Music) rather than free services such as iMessage (being free, they can’t easily tell whether opening it up has brought them any revenue).

Also maybe because there’s a huge value in having high subscriber numbers for the media services so they can get better leverage when negotiating deals with the studios/labels, something they don’t need for their in-house services.


#19

Yet you trust Apple?

A closed system has always been Apple’s business model.


(Andre Borie) #20

Yet you trust Apple?

Apple has yet to do anything privacy-invasive. Facebook? It’s their entire business model.