Evidence of iMessage integration found in iChat

Evidence of iMessage integration found in iChat

Summary: Almost immediately after Apple releases any piece of code over-eager developers ritualistically scour its strings looking for clues. This time: iMessage for Mac OS.


I've got to hand it to developers, they have an uncanny knack for finding the most obscure tidbits hidden deep within Apple's code.

Almost immediately after Apple releases any piece of software (especially developer betas) over-eager developers begin to ritualistically scour its strings looking for hints at what's coming down the road.

While Apple's internal developers carefully remove references to unreleased products and features before releasing software, it's virtually impossible to catch all the references and they occasionally slip out.

Take for example these new properties (in bold) discovered by a developer buried in the framework of OS X Lion's iChat that was posted on MacRumors:

@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.

Apple's iMessage is due to ship in iOS 5 in October and is Apple's way of sticking it to the mobile carriers because it's completely free. iMessage is a disruptive service because, like BlackBerry MessengerFacebook Messenger and Google+, it completely subverts the over-priced carrier cash cow known as SMS and MMS.

An updated iMessage application would close the gap between iOS and Mac OS devices and allow them to easily exchange free text messages in real-time. It's an obvious service extension for Apple and I would expect the new iMessage-enabled iChat to launch on the same day as iOS via a software update. Unless the software's not ready, there would be no reason for Apple to hold it back because it makes iOS 5 even more appealing.

Things would really get crazy if Apple also launched a Web-based iMessage portal allowing users to send messages to and from any computer, any time. (I put that one in the iChat suggestion box, just in case).

Tip: CNET, Image: iPhoneFAQ

Topic: Social Enterprise

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • What Apple really needs ...

    ... is to release versions of iChat for all devices and OSes. I mean, really, how hard could it be? Chat programs really aren't (or don't have to be) that complicated.

    If they made it stupid simple to send messages from any device to any device (through one's existing AppleID account? ... which just about everyone on the planet has) it'd be a major win for users.

    Of course ... non-smartphones would be excluded and that's a problem. But I'm sure Apple could whip up some kind of SMS-to-iMessage (and vice-versa) gateway so that smartphone owners wouldn't have to pay for messaging plans. If Apple didn't want to be benevolent, they could charge $1/mo and rake in millions more each month.

    Then again ... it could all be a moot point: if carrier customers start ditching their texting plans, the carriers will just up the data plan rates to compensate ... probably with a little "F.U." tax tacked on to make us think twice about trying such things in the future.
  • RE: Evidence of iMessage integration found in iChat

    Any chance that this might NOT have been a "slip up" but rather released with the intention of it being found and recognized by SMS providers and thereby significantly impact negotiations about release of iPhones and the like to the various major players in the cell service (You can't call it cell "phone" providers anymore.) providers
  • RE: Evidence of iMessage integration found in iChat

    with aslpin.com no registration needed to find bbm users by age,sex,location or interests
    aslpin.com the fastest growing website for bbm users check by yourself !
  • RE: Evidence of iMessage integration found in iChat

    The main reason I carry a Blackberry instead of a iPhone is BlackBerry Messenger. If you used it you know how far superior it is to SMS! My daughter travels the World and it saves us a fortune in international SMS. I'm not for Government over-regulations but SMS is like the cost of Popcorn at the movie theater, simply OUTRAGES! I have a iphone (on at&t) as well. But I'm so looking forward to a Sprint iPhone 5! WOOT!