Why Lion Doesn’t Have an iMessage Application (Revisited)

I Was Wrong

In my first post on this site, Why Lion Doesn’t Have an iMessage Application (Yet), I predicted that Apple would provide an application for OS X that could “chat” with iOS devices using iMessage once iOS 5 was released.

It’s been almost three months now. There have been two point release updates to Lion, 10.7.1 and 10.7.21, yet there is still no iMessage app for OS X.

What a great way to start off this site!

An Aside on FaceTime

FaceTime was introduced with the iPhone 4 in June of 2010, and later brought to OS X in February of 2011. With the initial launch, Apple promised that it would be made into an open standard. To my knowledge, this has still not yet happened.

Perhaps Apple has changed its mind and prefers to keep FaceTime tied to Apple products (iOS and OS X).

Could iMessage Follow the Same Path?

It would appear that Apple is taking a similar approach with iMessage. So far, it’s limited to only iOS devices. I assume that an OS X app shouldn’t be far off, but there’s no promise of that. Even unlikelier would be an open standard that would allow iOS devices to talk to Android, Windows Phone, Windows desktop, etc.

Such a feature would be great for users (of all devices, not just Apple devices), but as the phone carriers have shown, they won’t quietly let Apple take away the massive profits from text messaging. After Apple announced iMessage, AT&T “simplified” their messaging plans by cutting all non-unlimited plans. Prior to the iPhone 4S, I had been an AT&T customer and paid $10/month for more text messages than I needed. Now, I would have to pay twice as much2. Thanks for the simplicity!

Still, even if Apple is planning on following the path blazed by FaceTime, there should still be an OS X client. FaceTime is “locked down” to iOS and OS X through the use of a client-side certificate in the communication with the FaceTime servers at Apple. The same approach could also be used to lock down iMessage.

I Could Still Be Right

I still do think iMessage will make its way onto OS X. It’s just going to take longer than I expected3.