Aside from the other cool features iOS 5 was bringing to the iPhone like the revamped notification center, the updated weather app (which was really getting long in the tooth and in dire need of an update), and additional lock screen functions like quick access to notifications and camera app, etc, I was really drooling over the addition of iMessage. Apple’s answer to RIM’s popular BBM feature. I was wondering how it was going to be incorporated into the current sms/mss application as well. Well, Apple pulled through as ususal. There’s nothing new to learn, you simply message as ususal, and iOS takes care of the rest. The only thing you really need to know is that standard sms text appears in green (as it always has), and iMessages appear in blue. Apparantly, the phone handles figuring out weather the recipient handset is an iPhone running iOS 5 or greater or not, and sends a regular sms or iMessage depending on the situation. After a friend updated her iPhone 4 to iOS 5 and started messaging me I noticed the blue text indicating iMessage, and could easily see an ellipsis when she was typing back. It works great, with zero learning curve, and above all else, it uses the data connection and not the ‘sms’ system, so those text messages don’t count against my SMS usage, which is a good thing, because my friend texts ALOT, and, well, I don’t, and only have a $5/200 message package. Now that she can send iMessages to me, my puny allotment of 200 messages is safe again. I’m not cheap, but I just can’t justify spending $15 a month for unlimited messaging when the carrier cost is about 1/3rd of a cent per message. That combined with my usual usage of about 30 messages a month means AT&T would make. $14.90 profit off of my $15 SMS cost, which, combined with all the other ding dongs out there spending the same adds up to billions of dollars in profit with thousands of percent markup for a slow service that was piggy backed onto the system as an afterthought.
Will iMessage defeat SMS? Nah, not by a stretch as iPhones make up only 5 percent of the market, and iPhone to iPhone messaging makes up even less. Still, iMessage, when it can be used, is better, faster, encrypted, and has typing indication when someone is responding and is already giving me a benefit as my messages to my text happy friend don’t count against my SMS bucket 😉