Rob Fahrni

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Matt Mullenweg on Messages and RCS

Matt Mullenweg

I’ve heard stories of teenagers being ostracized because they couldn’t afford an iPhone, of group chats rejecting people who turn the chat from blue to green. I know that sounds petty, but do you remember middle school? It’s about status, and Apple knows that. Everything they make bleeds status and signaling. They’re the best in the world at it, and I should know—I’m typing this post from a M3 Max black MacBook with 128GB of RAM. But while status signaling with amazing hardware and design touches is harmless, in software and social settings in can be harmful.

I have suspicions about the Messages API. Apple are keeping it close to their chest for one or more good reasons. Could it be seriously flawed if not used in a very specific way? Sure, that’s plausible. Is it probable? Who the heck knows? I certainly don’t. Apple aren’t know for their network services abilities. Some folks have great experiences, others live with a complete mess. It’s a crap shoot. If you’re a developer of iOS and/or Mac Apps and used CloudKit for anything you’ve most likely experienced frustrated users because their data isn’t syncing. Like I said earlier, it’s a crap shoot and Apple don’t seem to care enough to enhance these frameworks and services. Gotta push on with those new features for next years OS updates!

Another reason they may be keeping it to themselves is the most likely scenario. It’s a competitive advantage like no other on the iPhone. I’d put money on this being the reason any day. Question is, why can’t they have a competitive advantage?

Steve Jobs initially pledged to make available as an open standard but ultimately restricted to iOS devices. iMessage availability has been a particular sore point in the rivalry between Android and iOS, with iMessage’s “green bubbles” attaching significant social stigma to Android phones. - Russell Brandom • The Verge

What I’d like to see is Apple create a new team just for the RCS Messaging app and fully embrace the specification. This would allow them to seep their “blue bubble” app nice and clean and give folks a full featured and secure RCS experience. Sure, iPhone and Mac users would have to use two separate apps, so what. It’ll get Google and EU regulators off their back and allow Apple to keep Messages less complicated.

Eat your own dog food.As an aside, being able to create a new RCS app from scratch would allow Apple to make a 100% from the ground up SwiftUI experience for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. That would be really nice in my opinion. Apple need to build a new, preferably larger, app in SwiftUI to show the world how it’s done and to eat their own dog food.

I also have a question for the Messages team. Why isn’t the Messages icon blue, like the bubbles in the app? Seems like it should be.