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article imageApple has designed 'detailed mockups' of iMessage for Android

By James Walker     Oct 28, 2016 in Technology
Apple has experimented with potential designs for an Android version of iMessage, according to reports this week. The company has drafted several different layouts, including ones styled after Google's apps, although the result may never launch.
Apple fans who use Android phones have long requested the company bring iMessage to the platform. The app is a favourite amongst iPhone users, enabling free communication over Wi-Fi with other iPhone customers. iMessage seamlessly falls back to SMS when chatting with people on other platforms.
The elegant solution has allowed Apple to effectively replace SMS with a proprietary alternative. Its success on iOS has been so strong that Android customers want to be able to access its features without buying an iPhone.
Apple has considered what iMessage on Android would look like, Daring Fireball's John Gruber revealed this week. Gruber, a respected Apple analyst, said that several iMessage for Android design concepts exist within Apple. A variety of layouts and themes have been trialled, including ones that simply clone the existing iOS app and those that integrate with Google's Material Design.
Apple currently has just two Android apps. One is a simple tool to help Android users migrate to an iPhone. The other is an official client for the company's Apple Music streaming service that includes Material Design elements. When Apple launched Music last year, it realised it would need to offer the service to non-iPhone users to stand a chance of rivalling industry giants such as Spotify.
Bringing iMessage to Android could enable Apple to expand the service to reach more users. As Gruber pointed out, iMessage is a standout app for many Android users that provides functionality not natively present in Google's mobile OS. If Apple were to release an official Android client, it would solidify Apple's presence on Android and give it a strong foothold on a competitor's platform.
However, keeping iMessage exclusive to the iPhone brings its own set of advantages to Apple. With the service so highly regarded, iMessage's iOS-only characteristic brings added value to owning Apple products and attracts customers to the company's ecosystem.
The existence of design mockups does not guarantee the company intends to launch iMessage on Android. However, it does indicate Apple has given the idea serious consideration. The presence of multiple variations of the unreleased app suggests significant time has been invested in the project, making it more likely it could one day be released.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously said the company is using Apple Music for Android to test how its products are received by users of Google's ecosystem. Any decision to launch iMessage for Android could be based on the success of Music. Cook suggested multiple Apple services could one day come to competitor platforms, perhaps including apps like Apple Maps, Apple Health and Apple News.
More about Apple, Ios, Android, imessage, Messaging
 
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