Apple is Building iMessage into OS X Lion's iChat

imess2Back in June, Apple unveiled iMessage, one of the major new features of the upcoming iOS 5 update.

iMessage is a unified messaging service for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that allows users to send text and multimedia messages over Wi-Fi and 3G with read and delivery receipts and real-time typing indication. But as far as Apple has officially said, there is no way to send iMessages to or from non-iOS devices such as your Mac.

One developer has revealed to MacRumors that there is evidence that Apple has already started building in iMessage support into OS X Lion's iChat instant messaging software.

Buried in the framework of OS X Lion's iChat, are two new properties (highlighted below):

@interface IMMessage : NSObject
{
IMHandle *_sender;
IMHandle *_subject;
NSAttributedString *_text;
NSString *_plainBody;
NSDate *_time;
NSDate *_timeDelivered;
NSDate *_timeRead;

The "timeDelivered" and "timeRead' fields indicate the tracking of delivery and read receipts for instant messages. These features, however, are not supported in any of iChat's native messaging protocols, while the same features are offered in Apple's iMessage protocol. These properties were also not present in previous versions of iChat prior to OS X Lion. We believe the only reason Apple would have added these properties was to build in cross compatibility with their new iMessage protocol.

Adding iMessage support into OS X Lion's iChat would allow iOS 5 users and Mac users to easily send text messages to each other in real time. This would not be the first time Apple has added such cross compatibility between its Mac and iOS product lines. Apple similarly extended iOS's FaceTime video conferencing feature to the Mac with the launch of FaceTime for Mac in February.

iMessage for iOS has not yet launched and will be part of iOS 5 which will be released this fall. It's not clear if and when Apple will launch iChat support for iMessage, but it seems work has already started.

Top Rated Comments

guzhogi Avatar
166 months ago
Makes sense. Now to only combine FaceTime & iChat!
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
saving107 Avatar
166 months ago
iMessage + Google Voice Text = Goodbye texting plan (I will not miss you).
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
*LTD* Avatar
166 months ago
SMS, but better, on your phone and your desktop.

Can't complain 'bout that.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rbgaynor Avatar
166 months ago
While they're at it, I'd love to see Apple make an iMessage app for Android.
Seriously.

And a Windows desktop client. Seriously, if they want this to have real legs Apple needs to think beyond just their own platforms (think iTunes).
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pooshka Avatar
166 months ago
I don't understand why people want the apps to be merged.
Surely it's like saying you think the phone and sms app to be merged.
You really can't see a parallel between iMessage, FaceTime and iChat???

It's not like we want Safari, GarageBand and Mail combined. :rolleyes:
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kaibelf Avatar
166 months ago
Why? You have a smartphone. Find one of the free apps like TextFree that give you a phone number and have your non iOS friends use that phone number to text you.

That's what I've been doing to get free texting (since I absolutely refuse to pay for texting. I like it but it's not worth the prices the carrier asks). I suppose though I have no idea how much data those apps use (I don't pay attention as I am on grandfathered unlimited. But I suspect not too much cause with my data use I probably could get away with the 2 GB plan).

Yeah who needs an integrated, elegant solution when you can use a third party option with a special separate number just for people who are tech savvy to text you at that number under certain circumstances. They'll certainly remember to use the duplicate contact for texts only..... Sounds simple! :rolleyes:
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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