If you want to get rid of the green bubbles of iMessage when you text someone on Android, Tim Cook has the solution: buy them an iPhone.
After Apple’s Far Out event – where the company announced the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, Apple Watch 8, Apple Watch Ultra and AirPods Pro 2 – Tim Cook was on hand Vox Media’s Code 2022 event (opens in new tab). There, Cook was asked about the possibility of iMessage taking over RCS messages – the new standard texting system used by Android smartphones.
Vox Media’s LiQuan Hunt complained to Cook about the problems he had when he tried to text his mother. In particular, the videos they shared with each other were always blurry, while they would look great if they used compatible messaging systems.
To solve this problem, Tim Cook told Hunt, “Get your mom an iPhone.” (through The edge (opens in new tab))
If you went to the Apple Store right now, the cheapest iPhone you could buy is the iPhone SE (2022) for $429 / £449 / AU$719. That’s before you factor in factors like insurance and data plans.
We don’t know about you, but a $429 workaround to fix iMessage’s RCS incompatibility isn’t a good option, so why isn’t Apple offering an alternative?
Analysis: Apple doesn’t want to help Android
At the same Vox Media event, when asked about making iMessage RCS compatible, Cook said, “I don’t hear our users asking that we put a lot of effort into that right now.” As he puts it, because most iPhone users don’t care about RCS compatibility, it’s not something Apple wants to spend time changing.
That response certainly makes a lot of sense. Given the plethora of messaging apps out there, from WhatsApp to Facebook Messenger to Telegram to the many others, there are plenty of solutions to the iMessage RCS problem. If you want to send a photo or video, send it another way.
But there’s a much bigger reason why Apple isn’t concerned about making iMessage RCS compatible — or including an iMessage app on Android. It has nothing to gain and much to lose.
When Apple and Epic Games went on trial over Fortnite being kicked out of the App Store, several internal Apple and Epic documents came to light. One of these was an email from Craig Federighi (Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering) which stated, “iMessage on Android would simply serve to [an] obstacle for iPhone families giving their children Android phones.”
And Apple’s approach to getting kids on the iPhone platform has worked. According to an Report autumn 2021 (opens in new tab), 87% of US teens surveyed had an iPhone. By comparison, only in the entire US 46.9% of smartphone users (opens in new tab) own an iPhone.
If Gen Z’s brand loyalty lasts into adulthood – perhaps because they’ve grown accustomed to the way Apple does things, love the interoperability of its products, or just generally feel trapped in the iPhone because of their App Store purchases – then we could see the makeup of the US smartphone market shifting more in Apple’s favor. This Generation Z adults would be more likely to buy an iPhone for their kids, and the cycle would continue.
If Tim Cook’s comment convinced you to buy an iPhone, then you may want to use our guide to deciding which Apple smartphone is the best iPhone for you. You can also check out the iPhone 14 deals we found so you can get the best price for your iPhone 14 pre-order.