Following years of pressure from Google for Apple to adopt the presently flawed RCS system within iMessage, Apple has committed to doing so during 2024.
Android does not have a true equivalent alternative to Apple's iMessage on iPhone — despite the Nothing company trying — and Google's previous attempts have failed. Consequently, Google has been trying to argue that Apple is failing customers by not supporting its nearest attempt, RCS, and finally Apple has caved in.
In a statement to AppleInsider, and other venues, an Apple spokesperson was clear about the RCS debut.
Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association. We believe RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS.
This will work alongside iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users.
Part of the pressure on Apple to adopt RCS has been to do with how — in the US — there is a perceived stigma between the blue and green text messages of iMessage and other users. It's a distinction that is simply not noticed in the rest of the world, where WhatsApp has typically far greater penetration than iMessage.
It's not clear whether Apple's support of RCS will give Android users the same blue button appearance as iMessage users.
However, it should improved issues such as sending images and videos between iPhone and Android. At present, Android users in a group message chat will receive scaled-down images sent over traditional MMS.