RCS: A Better Alternative to SMS and iMessage

Apple announced this week it would offer RCS support starting in 2024 and ending the conflict between iOS and Android. SMS is a ubiquitous messaging protocol that dates back to the early days of mobile technology. SMS messages are limited to 160 characters and lack support for media or end-to-end encryption. RCS is positioned as a next-generation replacement for SMS and MMS and offers features like read receipts, typing indicators, and high-resolution media support. iMessage is a proprietary messaging protocol controlled exclusively by Apple. Apple plans to integrate support for RCS in its Messages app, allowing better communication between iOS and Android users. The early days of RCS were marked by false starts and both Samsung and carriers did their own thing for a while. Apple was reluctant to adopt RCS until the EU passed the Digital Markets and Services Act. It’s unclear how Apple’s support of RCS will affect the display and treatment of messages on its devices, but it will likely lead to a better user experience for both iOS and Android users. Apple also plans to improve the existing Universal Profile protocol with a focus on adding end-to-end encryption. Whether that interoperability will end the stigma around green bubbles is unclear.