Apple seems largely unconcerned with the blue vs green bubble debate, with Cook saying the solution is to buy an iPhone.
When texting a non-iPhone user, Apple’s iOS falls back to the older, more limited SMS texting protocol instead of using the newer RCS and indicates the switch by displaying the texts in green bubbles instead of the standard blue. RCS offers many of the same advantages as Apple’s iMessage, such as group administration, read receipts, file transfer, encryption, and more. Google and others have called on Apple to adopt RCS for iPhone to Android communication, but Apple CEO Tim Cook just threw cold water on that idea.
According to The Verge, Cook was asked how Steve Jobs would have felt about RCS at Vox Media’s Code 2022 event.
“I don’t hear our users asking that we put a lot of energy in on that at this point,” Cook responded.
When the person who asked the question, Vox Media’s LiQuan Hunt, pointed out the problems sharing videos with his mom, who uses an Android phone, Cook had a curt response:
“Buy your mom an iPhone,” he said.
Hunt’s complaint highlights the heart of the issue: Apple is intentionally using an inferior protocol to communicate with Android devices, one that degrades video quality, limits file transfer, and provides no security or encryption.
Google has called on Apple to fix texting by adopting RCS, pointing out that it will not impact communication between Apple devices. It will only improve communication between Apple and non-Apple devices. Many in the industry, including we at WPN, have made the case that Apple only refuses to support RCS as a way to discourage people from buying Android phones in favor of its iPhones.
Perhaps Cook should look at Steve Jobs’ efforts to work with Microsoft as an indication of how he would think of RCS. Rather than focus on old turf wars between the two companies, Jobs was more concerned about what was in the best interest of his customers.
In the meantime, thank you, Tim Cook, for saying out loud what everyone already suspected.