To excite the chaos of recent WDCC 2022 (opens in new tab) The event emerges hints that Apple may be changing the way iPhones and Android devices interact forever.
Detected by 9 to 5 Mac (opens in new tab), iPhones running iOS 16 will be able to display emoji reactions to texts coming from Android smartphones in group chats. The feature is scheduled to be released as part of iOS 16, which will be released sometime in Fall 2022.
To understand why this is a welcome change, it’s important to understand the problem. Tapbacks are emoji reactions meant to be a quick way to respond to text in the iMessage app. You probably know them best as iMessages thumbs up, thumbs down and heart emojis.
If you send an emoji to an Android phone, they will see it as text, which is good. The problem is when you send emojis to an android phone in a group chat. Text destined for Android gets sent to everyone and leads to a really annoying spam problem as iPhone users are inundated with texts they shouldn’t receive.
We reached out to Apple and asked if they would like to make a statement regarding the Tapback changes, as well as the release date for the feature. While it’s expected to release as part of iOS 16, the fact that Apple doesn’t mention the Tapback move in an official capacity could indicate that the feature will be in development for a while. Unfortunately, Apple never got back to us.
Analysis: The only standard
In recent months, the gap between iOS and Android has been narrowing. Google seems more than willing to fill that gap, while Apple, not so much.
For example, Google has updated its messaging app to support iMessage Tapback emojis that appear as an annotation in a text. This was done thanks to the RCS (Rich Communication Services) protocol. RCS aims to bring features from various messaging apps to other devices and have a universal standard.
Apple, however, prefers proprietary technology, and while Google has asked Apple to formally adopt the RCS, Apple has not yet responded. Perhaps Apple’s small change to Tapback represents a small step on the way to full compatibility with a universal messaging standard. Although we didn’t hold our breath.
There were lots of blink-and-you-missed snippets from WWDC. Here is a list of our favorites.