Apple broke tradition this year by not announcing a new iPhone at this year’s WWDC. Instead they decided to focus on the software and services that will power future Apple products, one service announced was iMessage. With iMessage iOS users would be able to communicate with each other with just an internet connection with no need to text message. At the time it was said to be a feature only for iOS devices, but a new rumor is saying that iMessage is being built into Apple’s iChat client in OS X Lion.
The rumor started with a slight change to iChat’s framework that would allow users to see when a message was delivered and when it was read. These are not current features in iChat, and aren’t really needed when chatting with a person as there really isn’t a way to tell in a chat client when a person reads a message. Also iMessage wouldn’t be the first iOS feature that made its way to OS X devices; Apple’s FaceTime service is now able to connect iOS and OS X devices.
This functionality will help Apple’s service stand out from the rest of the messaging services. BlackBerry’s BBM is only useable between BlackBerry devices and this might be a big blow to the desirability of the BBM service and BlackBerry products. With Facebook’s Messenger app users are able to chat from iOS and Android devices to users on the Facebook website. It sounds as though at this moment Facebook still has a leg up on the competition, but this rumor makes things more interesting.
It still isn’t clear if mobile carriers will be OK with Apple’s iMessage service cutting into their text messaging service plans. Odds are the carriers will not block this service, but there has been no official word as of yet.