For a number of months now, Google has waged something of a culture war with Apple over texting. And following the release of developer beta 5 yesterday, the third public betas of Apple’s new operating systems are here.

Google continues to smear Apple in the press

Today Google launched a new website called ‘Get the Message’. The site is intended to provoke Apple into implementing the RCS standard in iMessage. It’s no secret that Google wants to make RCS happen. They’ve implemented it across their own devices but the rollout hasn’t gone as smoothly as they’d hoped. Google claims that the primary reason for that is that Apple is holding out on bringing RCS to iMessage.

For those unfamiliar with RCS, it is a proposed replacement for SMS that includes rich communication features. The features that you might expect to see in iMessage, WhatsApp and various other messaging platforms that work over WiFi and mobile data. RCS is an open standard and Google thinks that Apple is responsible for its poor adoption rates.

The AppleTLDR take

One of the major issues with the rollout of RCS shares its roots with Androids’ biggest problem. The involvement of carriers. Carriers have wanted and indeed have a lot of control over the implementation and rollout of RCS. They get to test it and make alterations to the deployment on their respective networks. And carriers are usually slow to adopt these smaller yet still significant technologies. Anybody who has hoped for a day one release of an Android update (save for pixel owners) has felt that pain already. Carriers much like with RCS, have high levels of control over the deployment of Android updates too.

You might be wondering what does this have to do with Apple? Google claims that by holding out, Apple is creating a second-class experience for iPhone users texting their friends on Android. And vice-versa. However, Apple has a lot of power. If they were to adopt the standard, it would bring pressure on carriers to relinquish control. Google doesn’t have the same influence over carriers as Apple.

Of course, it’s in Google’s interest for Apple to concede and for RCS to become the industry standard. If it does, it will mean RCS becomes more readily available across the entire Android ecosystem. Many of the features of RCS are comparable with iMessage, one of the iPhone’s key differentiators and selling points. Google has tried and failed to create a compelling alternative to iMessage many, many…..many times. But RCS could remove Apple’s competitive edge.

I think that the angle Google is going for is deceptive and self-serving. Sure they’d like a better experience for Android users when texting iPhones. But that isn’t the primary motivation here. The real motivation is eroding competition by nullifying iMessage.

Public Beta 3

In other news and following yesterday’s release of developer beta 5, the third public beta of iOS 16 is available to download. In addition, Apple has also released the third public of iPadOS 16, tvOS 16, watchOS 9 and macOS Ventura.

The big news from this latest round of updates was the welcome return of the battery percentage icon for iPhones with a notch.

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