iMessage Brings Instant Messaging to the iPhone

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Did Apple single-handedly signal the end of BlackBerry and SMS (text messages) with the announcement of it's iMessage platform? If all mobile device owners were iPad/iPhone owners, perhaps, but as it stands, there are still a lot of users who prefer other environments to iOS. Granted, the iMessage news may not do much for the continuing fall of BlackBerry, but as long as there are device owners with, well, non-Apple devices, SMS will probably survive a while longer.

In case you missed it, the iPhone environment, courtesy of the oft-discussed iOS 5 update, will soon be getting an instant messaging platform, similar to the BlackBerry Messenger, and it will allow users to message other iDevice owners (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) without using their SMS allocation. According to Gizmodo's write-up, iMessage users can message individuals or a group of friends, and iMessage users can share files with other users on the iMessage platform. Their report also indicates SMS messages can be forwarded vai iMessage, a capability that BlackBerry users had to do with the copy and paste function.

Further capabilities include continuing conversations from one iDevice to the next. For instance, if you are messaging a contact on an iPad and want to continue the conversation on your iPhone, you can do so.

While most of these capabilities are standard with instant messaging clients, the fact that it will soon be available on the iEnvironment only solidifies Apple's position as a dominant player in the mobile device industry. As one would expect, the iMessage news traveled faster than Usain Bolt, quickly becoming a popular Twitter trend. Reactions from the Twitter crowd run the gamut from excited to super-excited. There are also some questions about the client's impact. Here are some examples:

I want iMessage. I want iMessage. I want iMessage. I want iMessage. I want iMessage.less than a minute ago via Tweetbot for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

People don't seem to get the iMessage strategy. It's not about technology, it's about solidifying a TRIBE (even further).less than a minute ago via TweetList Pro Favorite Retweet Reply

While I don't think iMessage will bury SMS, I do think it will destroy consumer blackberry sales. Yikes.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

Naturally, Apple's infamous auto correct feature is also discussed:

The great thing about iMessage is that it will significantly increase the amount of hilarious #DamnYouAutoCorrect pictures.less than a minute ago via Twitter for Mac Favorite Retweet Reply

it's a little amusing that iMessage keeps auto-correcting "iMessage" to "I,sewage"less than a minute ago via Twitter for Mac Favorite Retweet Reply

Apparently, Apple informed absolutely no one in the way of carriers about iMessage:

On behalf of the Telco's: OUCH! So much for Win:Win strategies-> Carriers unaware of iMessage til today /v @MattRosoffless than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

Imagine the reaction Verizon and AT&T had when they realized they potentially be losing a significant chunk of money from Apple users who no longer rely on SMS to send text-based messages. I don't think "overjoyed" fits here. What say you? Do the capabilities of iMessage mean a reduction of SMS messages, especially among other iDevice users? Is there a possibility that iPhone carriers want a piece of the pie they are giving up as would-be SMS senders turn to the iMessage utility? Let us know what you think.

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