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This sketchy iMessage rumor is the worst thing I’ve seen all year

I’ve used every iPhone, including the original, since 2008, when I received one as a birthday gift. The OG iPhone was my first Apple product, and it kind of got me started down the rabbit hole of all things Apple. I eventually bought a MacBook, iPad, and Apple Watch after my first iPhone.

One of the things that I’ve grown to like about Apple products is their simplicity. Everything is pretty simple to understand, so you can get going on actually using the product. One of those things is iMessage, and I rely on it every single day to stay in touch with my friends and family on my iPhone 14 Pro, iPad Pro, Apple Watch, and iMac.

But there’s a sketchy rumor making the rounds today that seems very … well, un-Apple.

Turning iMessage into a full-blown social network

A concept image render of a new redesigned iMessage app on the iPhone
Majin Bu/Twitter

A new rumor was shared today by a Twitter user named “Majin Bu.” Supposedly, Apple is working on a major redesign for the Messages app that would include a new home screen design, “chat rooms,” features specifically designed for augmented reality to go with the rumored Apple mixed reality headset, and more.

According with my resource, Apple is working on a new version of iMessage completely renewed. New home, chat rooms, video clips, and new chat features in AR. It should be released next year along with the new headset #Apple #AppleAR #iMessage

— Majin Bu (@MajinBuOfficial) October 14, 2022

I found this rumor from a 9to5Mac article, which says that the concept image looks like a mix of 2002 AIM, Myspace messaging, and Facebook Messenger, all meshed together.

And it’s absolutely hideous.

Of course, this is a rumor, and the source of the rumor doesn’t exactly have a great track record when it comes to software leaks. While Majin Bu has gotten a few things right, those were about colors for Apple’s iPhone cases and updated Apple Watch band colors. But software leaks? No dice.

Thanks, I hate it

iMessage on an iPhone 11 Pro showing a text conversation with the keyboard showcasing a pig Animoji recording face movement
Greg Mombert / Digital Trends

The more I look at this concept image of an iMessage redesign, the more I hate it. I think it’s very unlikely Apple will go this route, and I desperately hope this is just a joke.

One of the best things about iMessage, at least for me, is the overall simplicity and ease of use. All of my message threads are synced over iCloud — I launch the app and see all of my existing conversations right away. Tap one to jump right into it, send my message, and get out. If I need to send an image, I just tap the button for my photo library or snap a new one directly. Have to share a location to meet up at? I do so from the Maps app. Whatever it is I need to do, I do it, and then go back to something else.

That isn’t to say that Apple hasn’t added extra features in iMessage. You can do inline replies and @ mentions like on various social networks, add voice recordings, react with tapbacks, send money through Apple Cash, spam stickers, and more. You can even let others know that one of your Focus modes is on, so you shouldn’t be disturbed. And iOS 16 even lets you edit and unsend messages, with some caveats.

Unsend a message in iOS 16.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In some ways, iMessage is Apple’s own social “network,” but not in the traditional Twitter or Facebook sense, or even AIM (gosh, I’m old). It’s more like a private network of iPhone users since most of the best iMessage features only work with other Apple device users.

But the new features in this rumor definitely take away from that simplicity and privacy, and I can’t say I’m a huge fan of that. Why does my iMessage need to have “chat rooms?” And please don’t spam up the app by having a “home screen” showcasing some new sticker packs or whatever — no one uses stickers! Heck, I even forgot they existed until this rumor popped up.

I suppose the only bit of this rumor that would make any sense is the bit about AR chat features. However, it’s still important to remember this is all speculation, and nothing is official until it comes from Apple.

If it ain’t broke …

I mean, sure, Apple could work on a redesigned Messages app. But please, let’s not try to turn it into the next AIM or something. The beauty of iMessage right now is the simplicity, and adding all of this extra fluff will just turn it into bloatware. And though the AR chat features could be a thing, not everyone will want to go into that.

Look, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. And right now — even without RCS — iMessage is still pretty great.

Christine Romero-Chan
Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade. She graduated from California…
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