20 June 2016

The Wall Street Journal: “Apple just improved the most important Social Network in Your Life”

Now, many of you may be inclined to respond to my enthusiasm with a guffawing duck sticker of your own. “Are you actually saying the best thing the most powerful tech company did was give us a bag of tricks to make our messages more like a 5-year-old’s birthday party? Innovation really is dead!”

Except messaging apps have emerged as the darling of the technology world because they’re becoming the glue that connects us to the most important people and services in our lives. Sound a lot like an operating system? That’s the idea.

Joanna Stern

Wow, Mickey Mouse watch faces and now Donald Duck stickers! Apple is definitely onto something here! (not)

iOS 10 iMessage updates
In iOS 10, apps will run right within the messages window

The truth is all these iMessage updates are irrelevant for two reasons. First they add no (or very little) real value for users (does anybody remember how the Apple Watch launched with a feature to send your heartbeat to other people?) and they can be easily copied by rival messaging apps. Facebook Messenger already has a range of animated stickers and a store to add more; it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if, by the time iOS 10 is released to the public in September, Messenger will already have invisible text and handwritten notes.

Secondly, messaging apps may be the glue that connects us to the most important people and services in our lives, but iMessage has no chance to compete as long as it’s confined to a single platform, Apple devices. I saw this play out in my group of friends: you can use iMessage with friends with iPhones for one-on-one conversations, but as soon as you start a group chat you pretty much need to use a cross-platform app. And since you’re now using WhatsApp or Messenger anyway, why not consolidate all your chats to these apps? (not to mention Facebook Messenger is available on Windows desktops too) And so iMessage gets ignored more and more and no amount of emojis or integration with apps can reverse this trend.

They promised us one more thing, and all we got were emojis.

Bob Lefsetz

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