RCS Messaging is a form of messaging that has been around for quite some time a few apps that use this type of messaging is WeChat, WhatsApp, and many more. Recently Google has implemented this form of chat in its android system to provide like Apple’s iMessage. RCS stands for Rich Communication Services which is a system that is much more interactive and capable than our current SMS system and has been supported and promoted by the GSMA since 2008. Just like live chat and iMessage you are able to see the live status of when a person is typing whether that be a group conversation or a person-to-person conversation. It is important to note that even though iMessage and RCS may sound/seem the same it is entirely different technologies with similarities. Two things that RCS messaging does not have, unlike iMessage, would be, no form of encryption on the chat and no ability to create profiles with your name and photo to share with others. This feature was announced approximately two years ago however Google has been waiting on cellphone providers to implement this feature natively. Recently, however, it seems the cellphone providers are not wanting to implement it or they are taking their sweet time and due to that reason Google has rolled out this feature to most of the Android-based devices. This form of messaging is going looking to replace a 25-year-old SMS (Short Messaging Service) texting protocol. This will give users the ability to chat over Wi-Fi or Mobile Data.
Sadly, iMessage would not work with RCS messaging because they are two different forms of technology. It is also highly unlikely that Apple will give in and actually join and add RCS technology to their devices because of the lack of encryptions. One thing Apple strongly values is privacy which is why it is unlikely for them to compromise on not having encrypted messages. This is both a good and bad thing, especially because this means if two parties have different types of phones that do not support each other’s technology there is no way to give each other the support it needs. The only option would be to either enhance RCS a bit more to support all the features iMessage has or Apple needs to make their iMessage technology open-source or at least share the source with other larger companies like Google to get the convergence concept working properly.
It is definitely a possibility that RCS can replace iMessage “eventually” but it will definitely take time. To explain, there is a trend when it comes to Apple’s innovation and adaption history, their concept of “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” aspect is great however it prevents enhancement and it has been proven. For example, when Android was expanding the size of their screen from the old 4-inch to 5- and 6-inch screens Apple said they won’t budge and they want to keep the small screen. However, if you look at the iPhone now it is much larger than the old 4-inch screen. But the trend is based on supply and demand when users demand a larger screen then the supply will happen and, in this case, that same concept will have to happen which is something that we highly doubt will occur in the near future. Until iOS users put their foot down and explicitly ask for RCS support for non-iOS devices it is highly unlikely it will be supported which will make RCS and iMessage useless unless the other person has the same operating system like IOS or Android (Meaning iOS to iOS or Android to Android).