If you want to get rid of the green iMessage bubbles when texting someone on Android, Tim Cook has the solution: buy an iPhone.
Following 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 attended Vox Media’s Code 2022 Event (opens in new tab). There, Cook was asked about the possibility of iMessage adopting RCS messaging – the new standard text messaging system used by Android smartphones.
LiQuan Hunt of Vox Media complained to Cook about the problems he was having trying to text his mother. In particular, the videos they shared with each other were always blurry, while they would look great if they were using compatible messaging systems.
To help solve this problem, Tim Cook told Hunt, “Buy your mom an iPhone.” (through On the edge (opens in new tab))
If you were to go to the Apple store right now, the cheapest iPhone you could buy is the iPhone SE (2022) at $429 / £449 / AU$719. That’s before considering factors like insurance and data packages.
We don’t know about you, but a $429 workaround to fix iMessage RCS incompatibility isn’t a great option, so why doesn’t Apple offer an alternative?
Analysis: Apple does not want to help Android
During the same Vox Media event, when asked about making iMessage RCS compatible, Cook said, “I don’t hear our users asking us to put a lot of energy into it at this point.” As he says, because most iPhone users don’t care about RCS compatibility, it’s not something Apple wants to spend time changing.
This answer certainly makes a lot of sense. Considering the bevy of messaging apps available, from WhatsApp to Facebook Messenger, Telegram and many others, there are plenty of workarounds to the iMessage-RCS problem. If you want to upload a photo or video, just upload it in a different way.
But there’s a much bigger reason why Apple isn’t concerned with making iMessage RCS compatible — or including an iMessage app on Android. You have nothing to gain and a lot to lose.
When Apple and Epic Games were put on trial over Fortnite being kicked out of the App Store, several internal documents from Apple and Epic came to light. One was an email from Craig Federighi (Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering) that said “iMessage on Android would simply remove [an] obstacle for iPhone families to give Android phones to their children.”
And Apple’s approach to getting kids on the iPhone platform worked. according to one Fall 2021 Report (opens in new tab), 87% of American teens surveyed owned an iPhone. In comparison, across the US only 46.9% of smartphone users (opens in new tab) own an iPhone.
If Gen Z’s brand loyalty persists into adulthood – perhaps because they’ve gotten used to the Apple way of doing things, love the interoperability of their products, or simply feel stuck with the iPhone because of their App Store purchases – so we can see the makeup of the US smartphone market shift more in Apple’s favor. These Gen Z adults would be more likely to buy iPhones for their kids, and the cycle would continue.
If Tim Cook’s review convinced you to buy an iPhone, you might want to use our guide to decide which Apple smartphone is the best iPhone for you. Alternatively, you can check out the iPhone 14 deals we found to get the best price on your iPhone 14 pre-order.