Everyone would have taken Apple’s announcement as a joke if it had been April 1st, but since that’s not the case, it’s true: the computer manufacturer will indeed support RCS, the new generation of SMS. Support is planned for next year, but Apple has already decided on a crucial question: what color will the RCS message bubble be?
Apple’s Messages app displays message bubbles in multiple colors. Blue characterizes iMessages, conversations between owners of Apple devices. Green is intended for SMS and MMS, in other words messages that have been sent from something other than an Apple device (from Android, generally). There is also gray for messages that do not correspond to any of these situations, which is quite rare.
What security for RCS messages?
In countries where smartphone users use integrated messaging applications a lot – the United States in particular – the question of the stigmatization of green bubbles sometimes arises in a formidable manner. This is also what explains the popularity of the iPhone among American teenagers: there is no question of them appearing green in discussions with friends. Elsewhere in the world, people are more likely to use alternative messaging services, such as WhatsApp or Signal.
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Unfortunately, Apple’s support for RCS will not change anything: RCS messages will always appear in the form of green bubblesas Apple confirmed with 9to5Mac. The blue bubbles will remain confined to iMessages, which the manufacturer presents as the best and most secure way to communicate.
iMessages are end-to-end encrypted (E2EE), only participants in a conversation can read them. This is not the case for SMS, and not for RCS either, at least the universal profile of this technology that Apple will adopt. The Apple firm indicated that it would work with the GSM association to integrate end-to-end encryption. Google, one of the main promoters of these “SMS 2.0”, has developed its own E2EE implementation for RCS but of course, Apple does not intend to use this version.
Read Apple gives in and will take charge of RCS!
At Google, where the champagne corks must have popped after Apple’s surprise announcement, we had a modest victory. The search engine actually explains that “ everyone deserves to communicate with each other in a modern and secure way, regardless of the phone they own (…) We are happy to see Apple today taking the first step by joining the RCS “.
Google also wants to work with Apple within the GSMA to “ develop the RCS and make messaging more equitable and secure “. Beyond questions of bubble color, RCS provides real added value compared to SMS with support for writing statuses, acknowledgments of receipt, and above all the sharing of high resolution photos and videos. Or the same attributes as iMessages.