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The iMessage opportunity in a future where instant messaging beats social networking

A few days ago, we saw Mark Zuckerberg make a statement that even led to the resignation of some of the company’s top executives. The CEO of Facebook changed the focus and admitted that the new generations of users communicated more through instant messaging groups. The original concept of a social network, in which users publish content publicly in front of everyone, is no longer the most widely used.

What is of interest to Zuckerberg now is clear: the ephemeral stories and those intimate groups of few people in courier clients. Instagram Stories, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram. There is too much fear in leaving content permanently posted on a social network. And Apple has a very interesting ingredient in this future that Zuckerberg predicts: iMessage .

The iMessage opportunity in a future where instant messaging beats social networking
The iMessage opportunity in a future where instant messaging beats social networking

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iMessage already has a lot of homework done

Let’s face it, Apple has a pretty disastrous track record with social media. Attempts like Ping were eventually shut down due to low usage. And here in Spain iMessage is not very used, but in the United States is the main communication channel for many people .

The advantages of iMessage here begin with your security. Everything is sent encrypted, and there are pre-set options to have conversation content removed after 30 days. This simple option saves us those thousands of space-saving tutorials in the case of WhatsApp or even Telegram, so don’t underestimate it because we can forget about those space issues.

While the competition is working on it, Apple has already solved the person-to-person payments in iMessage with Apple Pay Cash

In addition, iMessage already has an add-on platform that includes Memoji and a payment method with Apple Pay Cash . While WhatsApp, Instagram and Telegram are still working on having their own payment methods, Apple has been boasting about it for some time now (at least in some countries, we are waiting to enjoy it in Spain).

So we have privacy, payments and good space management in iMessage. Anything else? I would also mention Apple’s intention not to use the content we share through iMessage like the competition does, which as much as it wants to promote privacy is based on what we write to send us advertising in other channels . Since Cupertino they only need to reaffirm their promise to never do that so that iMessage can earn points as a basic communication tool for hundreds of millions of people.

Compatibility as the main obstacle

What could iMessage lack to stand out as the “social network” of the future? First of all, compatibility . iMessage can only be used on iOS devices, watchOS and macOS. You can’t send or receive iMessage messages on Android or (officially) Windows, and that’s possibly its weakest point. Absolutely all iMessage rivals can be used from virtually any platform, and companies like Microsoft have even dropped that they are willing to be compatible.

Also, as we can see in the tweet above, communicating by SMS with someone who uses iMessage features can become a hassle. This is something that is being tried to solve at a global level with a new mobile messaging protocol to replace the SMS called RCS, which at the moment is supported by Google and Microsoft but not by Apple.

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The most difficult thing for iMessage is and always will be to be able to have a place in countries like Spain, where rivals have cornered the market to such an extent that users who do not use WhatsApp are seen as rare . Even so, if from Cupertino they find a way to extend their protocol to other platforms, the truth is that iMessage may have a chance to scratch some usage quota in the future.

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