iMessage is a new feature included in the upcoming iOS 5 which will allow iPad and iPod Touch users to send text messages from their device for the first time via 3G or Wi-Fi. Moreover, iMessage will let users know when the conversation partners are typing or if they have indeed received the message.
Wireless carriers did not expect Apple to bring this feature and were surprised to hear the news. "Apple’s phone carrier partners [...] found out about iMessages when we did: during today’s keynote", John Gruber of Daring Fireball reported.
iMessage could determine many people to give up their SMS plan which translates into financial losses for carriers.
This is not the first time that Apple’s new features have hit wireless carriers hard. For example, carriers from Europe stated last year they would cut iPhone subsidies following rumours that the company was working on an embedded SIM which would let users purchase wireless service straight from Apple. Apple eventually gave up the plan.
iOS 5 will also bring a revamped notification system and a Newsstand feature. The new operating system will officially be launched this autumn and the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, iPod touch 3 and iPod touch 4 will benefit from free updates.