Monday, February 19, 2024

iOS RCS Support Due to China

John Gruber (9to5Mac, Hacker News):

So even if iMessage had been deemed a “gatekeeper” messaging platform by the European Commission — which it was not — adding RCS support to the iPhone Messages app would not have mattered a whit when it came to DMA compliance.


But then why did Apple do a 180° turn on RCS? I can’t say for certain, alas, but after spending the last few months periodically poking around the trees inhabited by little birdies, I do have good news for fans of coercive government regulation. Apple’s hand was effectively forced. But by China, not the EU.

Chinese carriers have been proponents of RCS for years, and last year, the Chinese government began the process of codifying into law that to achieve certification, new 5G devices will be required to support RCS. (Here’s a good English translation on Reddit of the parts relevant to Apple.) Shockingly, the Chinese government seemingly isn’t concerned that the RCS standard has no provisions for encryption. The little birdies I’ve spoken to all said the same thing: iOS support for RCS is all about China.

Eric Schwarz:

Personally, the current state of iPhone-to-Android SMS/MMS is terrible, so I’m looking forward to RCS—it’s not something my Android-using pals need to adapt to message me with other services or half-baked iMessage implementations. Is RCS perfect? No, but it’s a drop-in-place improvement over what we currently have.


Update (2024-02-20): See also: MacRumors.

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Christ almighty Apple are feisty about the DMA, it really hit them where it hurts. The walls of text they publish to refute or besmear it are rather telling. (See also the Phil Spencer bit)

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