Full hell bingo
The words Microsoft, iOS, notification and integration all in the same sentence
Folks who use both Windows 11 and an iPhone will soon be able to get calls, receive notifications, and see iMessages pop up on their PCs, after Microsoft revealed plans to add iOS support to its Phone Link software. After previewing it for the last two months, Microsoft this week announced plans to roll out iOS support in …
I still don't really get why Apple won't release iMessage for Windows. They could limit it to just sending messages to other iMessage users, no SMS bridge or anything, so it's still basically encouraging people to go out and buy an Apple phone or fondleslab, which gets people into the ecosystem where they make the bulk of their money.
iMessage is great. Like many Apple applications it integrates different accounts from many different service providers and several different technologies into a single portal relevant to the function. For example if calls come in via the voice network, or FaceTime or Teams or Zoom, then they appear in the calls list in the one application. If you get a message by SMS, it appears in the Messages app in Green, same as if it pops up in blue it's sorted out automatically that the sender has an iOS device and shifted the conversation from SMS to Internet with all the associated extensions to the capabilities. What's App requires that both ends have the same application and uses proprietary standards. I end up using a combination of Messages and What's App for some people, Messages and Telegram for others, Messages and Signal, We Chat, KiK etc... it's a nightmare remembering who uses what, BUT it means that FaceBook ISN'T dominating the instant messaging market.
"BUT it means that FaceBook ISN'T dominating the instant messaging market."
C'mon, pull the other one… iOS has only somewhere between 15 - 30% share of the smartphone market, depending on who you listen to. So that's a lot of people not able to use iMessage, and sadly most of them have been lured in by Facebook's WhatsApp. I try to encourage my friends to use Signal, but only a relative handful do so. Whether we like it or not, WhatsApp still has perhaps the largest share in messaging, although good old (bad old?) SMS still counts for a lot of use where people have no messaging app in common.
That's 15-30% of the messaging market that isn't in Facebook's control, which is more than enough to prevent them from having a monopoly. Similar to how Safari prevents Chrome from having a monopoly over the browser market.
Those who hate Apple and wish they didn't exist might not like what the messaging & browsing worlds would look like without them. By standing in the way of messaging and browsing monopolies Apple is doing a service even to those who never own or use an Apple product. Not saying Apple is doing this altruistically, of course not, but regardless the important thing is that it benefits everyone by preventing Facebook and Google from having monopolies on things as basic as messaging and browsing.
If Google succeeds in getting Android users to switch from third party messaging apps like WhatsApp and use RCS (which isn't without its problems or a measure of Google control, but is far better than WhatsApp) they will further erode Facebook's influence in messaging. And we can continue to hope that somehow Firefox is able to claw back a bit of share and do the same for browsing, but that's looking like a longer shot every year.
It always surprises me how people who wouldn't touch Facebook with a bargepole are quite happy using WhatsApp. Yes, your actual messages may be encrypted, but the traffic data (which is still personally connected to you) is massive. What groups you connect with, how often, who your contacts are, how frequently you message them, what groups they're members of, etc. And of course, all your friends' and contacts' phone numbers that you've shared with Meta without your friends' knowledge or permission.
There isn't a whole lot of integration that needs to take place for that - just bluetooth communication between a phone and a PC is sufficient given an API both sides agree upon. But AFAIK no one is even trying to do this.
Obviously we need to move away from 2FA using SMS which is horribly insecure, and Apple supports their own 2FA (I'm assuming Google has their own as well) plus there are various apps for it that might be required for e.g. corporate VPN logins. So a way for that information to be collected from those various sources and passed from the phone to a PC so it can be automatically passed to the browser or application requesting the auth is sorely needed.
So sure this Windows integration will save you a little trouble when you get a 2FA via SMS. But what about when you use the SecureID app because that's what your corporate VPN or your brokerage requires? You will still need to manually open that app and copy it over. Whereas if there was a standard API the PC would send a bluetooth message to the phone "hey give me a SecureID auth" and that will be passed to the app, and the code sent via bluetooth back to the PC so you don't need to do anything other than authenticate yourself to your phone (i.e. just glance at it if it has Face ID or equivalent) if it is locked when the request is made.
Continuity clipboard is slightly useful here:
You still have to open the authentication app in your phone. Both Microsoft and Google Authenticator allow you to copy the code from the App, and you can then paste it on your MacBook, which saves a few keypresses, and saves a small amount of time from not actually having to read the code.
If you can get a SMS on your desktop, doesn't that blow up 2FA? If someone can log in to my PC with a password guess, and use stored passwords that browsers insist on keeping, surely they can read the 6 digits that get them into my bank account.
That's why I never enabled the Windows/Android phone link.
I have used it, but only a small subset of the features. The only part I found very useful was the ability to see and send messages from my computer. I'm faster when using a full keyboard to type messages, and there are some people who prefer to communicate by text rather than voice. That's not exactly new, but since SMS, iMessage, and Signal (no WhatsApp for me) have replaced IRC or other text-based communication methods that such friends used to use, it's handy to be able to use a computer to send those messages. It wasn't big enough to keep me using a Mac, but when I was already using one, I found the feature a bit helpful.
I think I used to be able to do this on my old Nokia,.... (maybe even my old 5110?) OK, I had to have it plugged in, but I could defo send and read SMS messages via an App on my laptop (not that we called them 'Apps' then) pretty sure I could start calls, even if I had to use the handset.....
Just having transparent filesharing without having to execute 'mount' commands etc. would be nice. I have no need/desire to use iMessage or make calls from my PC but it seems to me since Carplay allows that wirelessly that the capability is already built into iOS. It just needs someone to want to implement it in Linux. I don't know but I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft was essentially leveraging Carplay as the way to interface with iOS, though maybe they worked with Apple for the integration.
Since they've already decided to release it, I'm not surprised when new features are limited to that version. Yes, they lied about not releasing a new version, but now that they've returned to doing it, it's predictable that they're using a pretty typical method of encouraging people to update, and one to which I don't object that much; selling a new piece of software with "it has new and useful features" seems fair. I object more to the generation of ewaste because of their unrealistic hardware requirements they're not using; if they allowed 11 to run on all the equipment where it could run, I'd complain much less.
Wow, they've just managed to implement a worse version of BlackBerry Blend. Since about 2014 BlackBerry Blend allowed access to the phone for PIM data, SMS, email, files, media. Though no call sharing but if paired via Bluetooth you had that. Blend still works. Use it daily.