As is tradition, some last-minute rumors are sneaking their way into the news before Apple’s big reveal on Monday morning in San Francisco. We already have a good idea what of what we think is coming, but this latest bit that says iMessage is coming to Android is very intriguing.
Citing an anonymous source, MacDailyNews says Apple will be opening up its iMessage app to Android at WWDC. This would be the biggest reinvention of the service since it was introduced all the way back in 2011 with iOS 5. The app works a bit like an Apple-centric WhatsApp, letting you essentially circumvent SMS when you’re messaging between two Apple products. When it was introduced, it almost immediately changed the mobile messaging landscape. Unfortunately, until now, it’s remained an Apple-only feature.
But if Apple does decide to bring iMessage over to Android, it could be big deal. Apple has been criticized and even taken to court over iMessage’s tendency to basically hold your texting powers hostage if you decide to move to Android. Establishing the service on Android would obviously ease that transition.
Perhaps more importantly, Android/Mac users could take advantage of the relatively seamless messaging experience connected between the smartphone and desktop. Finally, you’d be able to leverage the full convenience of the Apple ecosystem even if you’ve only partially invested into it.
On the face of it, it wouldn’t make an incredible amount of sense that Apple would want to ease that transition. It wants people to obviously stick with iPhone after all.
But other companies are aggressively expanding their messaging services and Apple could be feeling the pressure. Just last month, Google announced Allo, a complete reinvention of its own messaging platform, which will be available on both iOS and Android.
Messaging platforms themselves are becoming more and more important as companies like Microsoft, Facebook, and Google begin building chatbots on top of their communication apps. Earlier this year, messaging apps passed social networks in active users. If Apple has any hope to compete, it likely needs to spread its wings to other operating systems.
Previous reports from ZDNet suggests that Apple’s been thinking about an impending iMessage migration and said last year’s Apple Music was a big test to see how Apple services could work on rival platforms.
Let’s file this rumor under unlikely but extremely desirable. It’s worth noting that MacDailyNews doesn’t have a proven record with Apple rumors, but we’ll know more about the plan—if there even is one—when Tim Cook takes the stage Monday at 1pm ET.