back to article Apple finally adds RCS support after years of mixed messages

Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday teased assorted imminent improvements to the iGiant’s operating systems – including enhanced app security, support for RCS in Messages, and a dedicated password management app. The most salient announcement had to do with the debut of "Apple Intelligence" – Cook & Co's plan for …

  1. GraXXoR

    Was there anything in there for the new iPads? I’m still failing to see why iPad pros are now sporting potentially more powerful CPUs than their laptops when the OS is basically crippled and cut down to the point it’s less likely to need or utilize said power.

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Gimp

      Yes there is.

      We *finally* get a calculator app.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Coat

        Amazing !

        What bounty !

        How kind of Apple !

        We should declare a national holiday in its honor.

        Okay, I think I've laid it on thick enough . . .

        1. Tessier-Ashpool

          To be fair, the new calculator app seems to have an excellent equation editor.

  2. DS999 Silver badge

    What's wrong with adding a passwords app?

    If there is a third party app for something, then Apple shouldn't be allowed to add one to the OS? It isn't like they are mandating its usage, or blocking those third party password apps.

    If that was the standard for adding new functionality to an OS then modern operating systems would be capable of a lot less since most of what's been added to them in the past 15 years was previously available in at least some form as a third party app. Sorry Microsoft, you can't add TCP/IP to Windows 95!

    1. Tippis

      Re: What's wrong with adding a passwords app?

      Also, what are they actually adding that distinguishes this new app from ye olde Keychain, recently changed to optionally direct you to the Passwords settings?

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: What's wrong with adding a passwords app?

        Basically a more convenient and accessible UI. Previously it was buried in settings.

        1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Re: What's wrong with adding a passwords app?

          Despite having a lot of Apple kit, I will be sticking with Bitwarden precisely because it's not linked to Apple. I want at least the option of using non-Apple kit.

          Overall this actually sounds like a useful update though - ignoring the AI bollocks, rich messaging and tap-to-cash sound useful, and easier ways of moving files between iOS and macOS is going to be very welcome.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: It isn't like they are mandating its usage, or blocking those third party password apps

      Yet.

      Apple has history in doing just that.

      Wait and see. We'll be coming back to this topic.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: It isn't like they are mandating its usage, or blocking those third party password apps

        When has Apple ever banned a category of apps after they introduced their own app in that category when one previously didn't exist?

        They added Apple Maps, didn't ban Google maps. They added Apple Music streaming, didn't ban Spotify. Added a news app, etc. etc.

        Let's hear some examples to back up your claim that Apple has done this before.

        1. O RLY

          Re: It isn't like they are mandating its usage, or blocking those third party password apps

          Quoting myself from two years ago: "There used to be several virtual assistants until Apple bought what became Siri, for example, but then they were banned for replicating iOS functions. Time-based blue light reduction apps existed until Apple added Night Shift. One of those app makers, F.lux, pushed hard to be reinstated and insinuated their IP was stolen."

          Regarding Apple Maps, iOS 6 did in fact ban 3rd party Maps apps for several weeks from launch in September '12. Apple approved a standalone Google Maps app in December. There was a lot of finger-pointing between Google and Apple at the time. Apple finally allowed third-party nav apps into Carplay in iOS 12, only 4.5 years after Carplay launched with iOS 7.1.

          Regarding Spotify, Amazon Music, et al., signing up for subscriptions is not done in the iOS apps so as to avoid paying Apple a cut of revenue.

          A few citations:

          https://www.pcmag.com/news/flux-to-apple-let-our-blue-light-app-in-the-app-store

          https://www.lifewire.com/get-google-maps-ios-6-1999194

          https://www.theregister.com/2012/09/25/google_maps_on_ios6/

          1. DS999 Silver badge

            Re: It isn't like they are mandating its usage, or blocking those third party password apps

            2 seconds to do a DDG search shows there's an Alexa app on the iOS App Store which not only controls your Alexa devices but lets you use the app itself as an assistant. It isn't built into the OS so you can make requests when the app is not running, but that's EXACTLY how it was before Apple integrated Siri. They didn't take anything away from assistant apps.

            Spotify etc. have chosen to not have signups in the app, but that's hardly a major blocker. You can spend one minute signing up elsewhere then use it just fine.

            I'll give you the maps thing assuming that's correct (I can't remember) but that was for a short time a decade ago.

            So there's ZERO room for claiming that Apple will ban all third party password apps.

            1. O RLY

              Re: It isn't like they are mandating its usage, or blocking those third party password apps

              I was not claiming Apple will ban third party password apps. I was refuting your claim that Apple has never done that in prior cases with examples you asked for.

              They did take away F.lux when Night Shift arrived. Yes, there’s an Alexa app. However, Alexa launched in 2014, four years after Siri was acquired and integrated into iOS.

              Anyway. Have a great day.

    3. Mr F&*king Grumpy

      Re: What's wrong with adding a passwords app?

      I for one won't be sorry to say "byeeeee" to 1Password, its subscription trap, and its ever expanding bloat. It used to be excellent. Recently its evolving to excrement.

  3. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    SMS better for some?

    Usually I disable RCS on my Android phone. Why? Because messages that are undelivered for a short time like an hour or two got dropped and you need to re-send them, where as SMS seem to make it through eventually when signal is OK once more.

    This sounds stupid, and it is, but maybe the folks developing RCS related stuff at Google don't have to live & work in areas of crap connectivity?

    1. notyetanotherid

      Re: SMS better for some?

      If you're not using RCS, why not just dump Google Messages full stop and use something like Textra SMS ... and stop phoning home your message data to the mothership, https://www.theregister.com/2022/03/21/google_messages_gdpr/?

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: SMS better for some?

      Usually I disable RCS on my Android phone. Why? Because it's completely fucking unnecessary and another whopping great piece of attack surface.

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge

    "Apple finally adds RCS support after years of mixed messages"

    Oh El Reg, with this headline you are really spoiling us.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is there now a way to use encrypted RCS without involving Google?

    Is there now a way to use encrypted RCS without involving Google? The last time somebody looked into this the RCS standard was a massive clusterfuck. One of the issues is that it doesn't have native encryption but that Google has built their own encryption extension.

    You can predict exactly what will happen, a handful of large mobile providers will install these encrypted RCS messaging servers themselves but the majority of them will be more than happy (I suspect messaging has become a massive Cost Centre for them, like email has for ISPs) to offload the messaging of their users to Google who offers these services out of 'pure kindness'. This would give Google a treasure trove of realtime communication data and ordinary users no way of opting out. You yourself may diligently choose a mobile ISP purely on whether they run their own RCS servers but how do you know if the person you are messaging is not using one of Google's servers?

  6. zimzam

    "Apple is also adding a locked, hidden folder in which the presence of apps can be concealed, as well as a way to limit which contacts are shared with apps. Expect this to be the first stop for any forensic investigator given an iPhone."

    And abusive partners putting tracking apps on an iPhone.

  7. Roland6 Silver badge

    >” A feature called Enhance Dialogue has also been added that uses machine learning to make dialog easier to hear in poorly mixed scenes”

    How does it perform with Gerald Cooper of Clarkson’s Farm fame?

  8. Mr F&*king Grumpy
    FAIL

    Writing arithmetic and getting the OS to recognise it as a calculation by writing "=" ? Awesome. It's only taking them 25 years to lift that from NewtonOS. And the owners of NewtonOS should sue!!!

    1. Tim99 Silver badge
      Joke

      I haven't had my coffee yet. Perhaps you should have used the Joke icon? >>====>

  9. Rich 2 Silver badge

    I’d be happy if…

    I’d be happy if Apple…

    - made the WiFi and bluetooth on/off buttons on the pop up menu work like they used to - ie, they switch on and off rather than on and “off for now but will switch on randomly by itself for reasons unknown because someone at Apple decided in their questionable wisdom that was a good idea”

    - made the volume control of the alarm clock separate from that of the phone ringer

    See - a very short wish-list :-)

  10. DJV Silver badge

    RCS

    Well, I'm glad El Reg explained what RCS was after a few paragraphs - for a while there, I was wondering why the Royal College of Surgeons were getting involved!

    1. Captain Hogwash

      Re: RCS

      Red. Crimson. Scarlet. Danger!

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: RCS

      I couldn't figure out why Apple were adding RCS support. All the cool kids use CVS.

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