Despite previously denying the possibility, sources within Apple have confirmed that the company not only has being in consideration of delivering their popular iMessage service across to Android, but the company has detailed mockups of it potentially running on Android devices.
Apple introduced iMessage in 2011 as part of their iOS 5 release, which believe it or not has it’s biggest competition with Blackberry’s BBM service, which too saw it’s release across platforms. However, the difference between Blackberry releasing BBM to iOS and Android, is Blackberry needed to to remain relevant as their platform was failing, Apple on the other hand still have a solid market!
I’ve heard from little birdies that mockups of iMessage for Android have circulated within the company, with varying UI styles ranging from looking like the iOS Messages app to pure Material Design.
iMessage App Store possibilities
One new area however which may entice Apple to bring iMessage to Android however is the iMessage App Store. Introduced very recently with the iOS 10 release, the iMessage App Store allows deep integration with the iMessage chat application to deliver in-app experiences far reaching and beyond basic Sticker packs you see from the competition, though Stickers remain a popular choice here as well.
The main possibility derives around the Paid applications which live in the iMessage App Store. Unlike iOS, Android allows any developer to initiate their own proprietary App marketplace within their application without a percentage cut, so Apple could go as far as to even initiate payments for the iMessage App Store on Android through Apple IDs and receive the same 30% cut they do on iOS. Whilst this may not seem a pro for consumers, what this also would mean if the iMessage App Store was tied to and powered by Apple, would be your existing iOS purchases would run in the same service as well.
Android has Apple Music, so why not…right?
Well, things are a bit different with Apple Music. With Apple Music, Apple released an Android counterpart for the same reason they released iTunes for Windows in 2003, for their own benefit. Apple’s intent with the Android release is the same as the iTunes Windows release, to entice users in to the Apple ecosystem to get Apple hardware, whilst obviously at the same time make a buck or two by limiting the Android app to paid subscribers.
Here’s why it won’t happen
STOP US IF YOU THINK YOU’VE HEARD THESE BEFORE
Apple are a hardware first company, whereas companies like Google and Microsoft are software first companies. Whilst all three contribute now to both, the reason you see essentially all of Google and Microsoft’s apps on iOS is because it’s in their best interest as they make their money through software not hardware. On the other side, Apple makes little to nothing through Apple Music on Android, or any of their software releases, where they do make all the profits is in hardware, which leads us to this;
“iMessage is the reason most iOS users haven’t switched?”
Sad, but true. But, at the same time it’s not too surprising.
The second you send a text on any iOS or even Mac since iOS 5 / OS X Mountain Lion or later, to a fellow Apple device, you’ve, whether intended to or not, just sent an iMessage, and it’s that seamless experience which can make it harder to leave behind.
Sure, iMessage isn’t perfect, it’s had more than it’s fair share of bugs and even outages over the years, and it does more or less equal ALL of it’s competition in terms of features, but the fact it’s built in, stock, out of the box, set up WITHOUT set up is why it works.
Probably the most annoying thing about Android is how many platforms have the opportunity EASILY to match this on Android, looking at you Google. If we focus on Google alone, Google have ‘Google Voice’, ‘Google Hangouts’, ‘Allo’, ‘Duo’, on some devices ‘Google+ Messenger’ and the ‘Messaging’ app …. WHY? It’s that lack of unification which sells Android short, whilst we’re not sure whether iMessage running on Android devices would necessarily change that, as we’ve said, solutions exist for it’s absence.
Crazy thing is, if Google used the same technique they do in their new Allo app, built in SMS support for devices not running Allo, then made it the stock texting app, which switched seamlessly between SMS and Allo and worked across devices using your Google Account, boom you’ve done it! …add some of that Hangouts encryption too for good measure, that would be iMessage for Android. See, the reality is we don’t even need Apple to do it?
What do you think about the potential of iMessage for Android?
Of course if you’ve never used iMessage, maybe owned an iPhone previously before iOS 5 or never, you won’t understand the big deal iMessage on Android could be, though it’s the same story Blackberry users were saying back then, that BBM was keeping them with Blackberry, and it’s that same attachment we believe is why it’s, even with solid mockups within Apple, unlikely to happen.