A number of tech blogs has reported that Apple will support RCS sometime in 2024. I am guessing this will be about the time they will roll out the iPhone 16 lineup. This is a good thing, and wished they would do so sooner. With Apple supporting RCS, this can encourage carriers to drop SMS/MMS services as these are very legacy services, and been around since 2G services. I would imagine that even though many of the features found in iMessage is also in RCS, that Apple will still make SMS/RCS messages with a green bubble, therefore keeping the “Blue Bubble” for iOS users.
For those that don’t know, RCS is Rich Communication Services, and is supported by all three of the major carriers in the United States. This will allow longer messages, better multi-media transfer, read receipts, and typing indicators. Yes, I know – Apple always had these features in iMessage, but iMessage is not supported on Android devices, and an iOS exclusive. Universal Profile for RCS does not support encryption yet, but from what I read in tech blogs, Apple will work with GSMA to provide support for encryption.
As for support on the individual level, if you have an Android phone with the Google Messages, you likely already support RCS. You can communicate with other Android users, and use data instead of SMS/MMS channels. For those worried about data – a standard text message across RCS will consume about 500bytes (1,000,000 bytes = 1MB). Obviously, multimedia will consume more data, but this will be expected, and the image file will not be degraded as it is now when using MMS.
I would really hope that Apple rolls out support for RCS sooner than later. Again, from what I read, they will support it sometime in 2024. My guess is they already have the code written, and just holding out. I would truly doubt RCS support will allow iPhone users to leave as I am confident that there will still be the different color bubbles.