Of the many features that are set to thrill iOS 5 and iPhone 4S users in a few days time, iMessage hasn't really taken centre stage. Analysts as well as wireless carriers have realised that for many Apple users sending text messages will be free, at least to other Apple devices, from now on.
Apparently, many wireless carriers were not aware that Apple was developing such an application, that could affect their income from SMS messages, until iOS 5 was introduced to the general public, according to Apple Insider.
iMessage, as part of iOS 5, allows users to exchange texts (larger than 160 characters), photos and video content between their compatible devices over 3G and Wi-Fi networks. The feature will be available to owners of iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S as well as users of iPad and iPad 2 and last generation iPod touch.
The integration of iMessage into iOS 5 also allows users to switch devices and pick up the conversation from where it was left. Rumours point to a further development as OS X Lion chatting platform could very soon integrate iMessage.
According to analysts, text messaging in the US is a $20 billion business, and Verizon has a third of this revenue. An average user can end up paying almost $1500 for 1 MB of data received and sent as 160-character messages. Texting between Apple devices may only account for a mere 5% of this market, but still carriers must align their strategies to account for the new trend.
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