Apple made a host of announcements at WWDC 2016, but we didn't see the rollout of iMessage on Android as was rumoured. While many Android users will be disappointed, an Apple executive has outlined a fairly reasonable explanation for not planning to bring the service to other platforms. By making it available to Android users, Apple doesn't want to lose its key USP that makes iOS so lucrative in the eyes of loyalists.
The Verge's Walt Mossberg spoke to a 'senior Apple executive' about the iMessage rumour, and he safely put a pin on it. The executive said that iOS has over 1 billion active users, and Apple feels it's a large enough data set for future artificial intelligence activities and research. It doesn't need more data sets for AI activities. Plus, the main revenue comes from the hardware. And one of the key reasons people buy iOS and macOS devices is because of the iMessage app. Apple wouldn't want to hurt its sales figures and revenue earnings by opening up iMessage to a larger audience.
"When I asked a senior Apple executive why iMessage wasn't being expanded to other platforms, he gave two answers. First, he said, Apple considers its own user base of 1 billion active devices to provide a large enough data set for any possible AI learning the company is working on. And, second, having a superior messaging platform that only worked on Apple devices would help sales of those devices - the company's classic (and successful) rationale for years," the report said.
When the rumour first broke out, we did wonder about its credibility. Apple would need an extremely compelling reason to let go of iMessage exclusivity. Last year, Apple Music was launched for Android users as well, so the possibility of iMessage following suit could not be ruled out. However, Apple Music caters to a different business altogether, and a larger audience is encouraged for the app. While collaborating with artists, Apple would want to compel the artist to release their music exclusively on their service, and not competing services like Spotify which is available cross platform. iMessage, however, has no such competition conditions.
At WWDC, Apple did give the iMessage a complete makeover though. It introduced a host of new features like replace text with emoji, digital touch handwriting feature, and many more fun features to elevate social conversations. It even opened up iMessage to third parties, and introduced a new app drawer for integration.