Hot on the heels of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference 2016 (aka WWDC), which is set to begin Monday, June 13th, the rumor mill has churned out a most intriguing allegation regarding a suspected announcement from Apple. According to MacDailyNews, a source that’s “familiar with the company’s thinking” claims that Apple may be introducing iMessage for Android this upcoming week.
Now, that source is probably one of the loosest terms for a source I’ve ever heard of. The rumor should definitely be taken with a pound – maybe two pounds - of salt. However, I’m not sure I would entirely put it past Apple to do such a thing at this point, either. Once upon a time, fathoming the possibility of Apple sharing their apps with Android was preposterous. Apple didn't do sharing. These days, though, it isn’t entirely unheard of. After all, Apple Music was released on both iOS and Android. There’s also Move to iOS (which wasn’t exactly created for the benefit of Android users) as well as Beats Pill+.
But the idea of iMessage, which has been one of Apple’s biggest pride and joys, making a debut to Android still seems far-fetched, mostly because I think that would ultimately lose Apple a lot of iPhone sales. It’s not that the iPhone is a bad product. Far from it, in fact. But many people who use iPhones only do so because iMessage is arguably one of the best messaging systems available – and if you happen to be a part of a circle of people who exclusively use iPhones, it can be difficult to convince them all to download something other than iMessage in the first place (even if it does have more features).
Personally, I’m a huge fan of iMessage. I loved being able to message a fellow iPhone user through iMessage effortlessly. When iMessage didn’t work due to lack of data or texting somebody using a different operating system, the system automatically switched it to SMS. It was easy to tell when this happened because iMessage bubbles were blue, whereas SMS bubbles were green. Simply put, iMessage is just another one of those Apple services that “just work”, and out of all of the iOS apps I miss most, iMessage is definitely in the top three for me.
Another reason I could believe this might happen is due to the fact that messaging apps are getting more competitive. Google recently announced Allo and Duo, and Facebook Messenger seems to be getting more attractive features all the time. There are countless others on the market, and I could see Apple wanting to make this move before the possibility of iMessage becoming as irrelevant as BlackBerry Messenger – which we all know branched out a little too late. I think it would be smart of Apple to rope in Android users while the iPhone is still wildly popular (particularly given that iMessage is the only default messaging app allowed). At the very least, this takes one extra step out of the equation when trying to figure out what messaging app to use; only the Android user would need to install anything extra.
If true, this would come at an opportune time giving the fact that Chromebooks will soon support Android apps via the Play Store. Assuming that the Android version of iMessage acts in the same way as iOS’s iMessage does, Chromebook users could use iMessage to seamlessly continue conversations that they had on their phone.
Obviously this wouldn’t fix the extremely fragmented way we send messages, as there are sure to be equally as many people who have zero interest in iMessage on Android. In my opinion, it would still be a welcome addition. As somebody who recently switched from iOS to Android, I do hope it becomes a reality. Still, I’m not holding my breath over it.
Readers, if iMessage on Android becomes a reality, will you be ditching your iPhone (or current messaging app on Android) to switch? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!