Apple’s wireless carrier partners were apparently just as surprised as we were when Apple unveiled its new messaging client, iMessage, at yesterday’s WWDC keynote. Reportedly, Apple didn’t bother to give carriers a heads up that they were introducing a new, media-rich messaging client before the actual presentation to the public.

Wireless carriers are the ones that will actually be handling the transfer of messages/photos/videos in iMessage over 3G. Apple demonstrated its classic attitude by not even bothering to give carriers a heads up about iMessage. What Apple wants, Apple gets.

John Gruber of Daring Fireball,

“A well-informed little birdie tells me that Apple’s phone carrier partners around the world found out about iMessages when we did: during today’s keynote.”

iMessage will allow iDevice users to communicate with each other for free across Apple’s platforms. Conversations can be created with live updating, and messages can be sent to groups or single users. Photos and videos can also be sent in iMessage for free over Wi-Fi and 3G.

Apple is obviously targeting Blackberry Messenger with iMessage, and they seem to have blown it out of the park. As the app was demoed during yesterday’s keynote, I kept thinking about how good Apple is at sitting back and learning from its competition. It took them 4+ years to introduce iMessage, but they’ve done it right.

The first thought is that iMessage will replace classic SMS messaging for iPhone users. If that’s the case, carriers should be very scared about losing money on their messaging contracts. MMS can be very expensive too, and iMessage will offer a free, streamlined method for MMS with other iOS users.

The only problem with iMessage replacing SMS is that not everyone uses an iPhone. If you text a lot, you’ll most likely still be using the SMS data that carriers provide.

So, in conclusion, iMessage is a nice addition to SMS/MMS, but I don’t think it will replace the classic system of text messaging anytime soon.

Still, Apple is pretty bold to announce a service like this without giving carriers a heads up. O well, that’s just how Apple rolls.

Thoughts? Will you be abandoning your SMS plan for iMessage when iOS 5 goes public this fall?

[TUAW]

  • Dodgerdeezy

    Wow lol I was wondering how they could do this without a texting plan. I know people that have the iPhone without a text plan. This should be interesting

    • I thought it was done by sending to emails but in apperanrace of SMS form since iPod & iPad aren’t phones??

      • josh

        Dude. Textfree?

      • kokhean

        No

      • shrike1978

        I’m sure it ties in with push notifications. Email would be enormously inefficient.

  • Bill

    Majority of people I know at least have an iPhone 3G, so I’ll have to tell them to upgrade to the 4 and iOS 5 so I can drop my SMS plan.. LOL!

  • Burge

    I’ll mainly use SMS ..only a small group of my friends have a iPhone…I’ve just been given for free from my carrier ,50 free picture messages..

  • mopo

    WTF??? this ARTICLE is FAIL ! i dont see any reason for Apple giving heads up to carries.. ITS JUST ANOTHER LIMITED IM messenger ffs… should every IM developer ask permission to carriers if its ok to have them? new era.. whos online gets online messages whos not will send SMS simple as that… ITS iOS BOUND.. like IMs are yahoo, icq bound.. nobody sees it??

    • Jerry

      lol I was just about to say this…doesnt every other app like liveprofile use 3G? and its basically the same thing as this?

      • RoamingChargesSuck

        Yes, but this will be loaded on EVERY iOS device. I have What’s App and 4 other apps, but I never use them because I don’t know which of my friends have them. With iMessage built directly into the native SMS messaging app, you will be able to see if the person you are sending it to has iMessage because the send icon changes to blue. If it’s green, it will be sent as a regular SMS. Therefore, my SMS usage will be cut by at least 50%. The carriers MUST be pissed because SMS is a total cash cow for them. A few kbs of data for .25 cents or whatever. AT&T just lost hundreds of millions of dollars. And they can’t complain because they have been letting BBM do it all these years, so how can they say Apple can’t do it too.

  • Andrew

    That is hilarious, and brilliant. If Apple asked permission, they would have likely been denied, or have had to pay a lot for some kind of agreement. But, announcing the capability to the public and getting them excited, if the carriers try to kill it now, they will look like the bad guys, and the public will be angry with the carriers (and not Apple). IMO this was a brilliant and calculated move by Apple. The carriers are probably pissed, but it seems doubtful that they would kill the deal at this point. The only chance they would have now to kill it is to join forces and both do it. If only verizon or only at&t cancelled, the other would proudly tout it as a feature the other doesn’t have. And I don’t think either would risk that.

  • Over

    iMessage a new name for app like Viber … Nothing new …

    • QuarterSwede

      No one cares that it’s been done before. Heck, it’s almost a straight BBM knockoff. Most of the new features in iOS 5 have been done already on other platforms or are ripped from otter iOS apps/jailbreak apps. What matters is that it’s now integrated and had that Apple spit shine that everyone loves.

      • Over

        I agree 😀 and I hope there will be some “mysterious bug” with saving in some “easy to steal” database…

      • Bill

        +1 😀 Gotta love that spit shine!

  • G Funk

    I hope this works for the 3GS. I know some people who still have that and can’t upgrade till 2012.

    • OrangeSn0w

      It does, I have iOS5 beta on my 3GS, everything in the iPhone 4 is in the 3GS, which is weird for apple :/ still no HDR, ect but all the new stuff.

  • RJSaud

    “Photos and videos can also be sent in iMessage for free over Wi-Fi and 3G.” how about EDGE? It’ll suck if It’s not media capable on edge. Whatsapp does it flawlessly. My question is because I Havre seen the same info in other pages, but nobody knows.

    • QuarterSwede

      It works over EDGE too. Just as fast I might add.

  • RJSaud

    “Photos and videos can also be sent in iMessage for free over Wi-Fi and 3G.” how about EDGE? It’ll suck if It’s not media capable on edge. Whatsapp does it flawlessly. My question is because I Have seen the same info in other pages, but nobody knows.

  • RJSaud

    “Photos and videos can also be sent in iMessage for free over Wi-Fi and 3G.” how about EDGE? It’ll suck if It’s not media capable on edge. Whatsapp does it flawlessly.

  • j_breez

    Is BBM not free between its users as well? This isn’t surprising I’ve already found a ton of ios apps to stop using sms and not just ones limited to ios (since everybody I know has sprint who has awful service here).

  • Grigori

    iMessage sounds okay but I will keep WhatsApp just to be in touch with my non-iOS friends (BB & Android).

  • STK10

    Whatsapp built in, nice move, now everyone that has ios5 will use it and itll save us money on txts. Awesome.

  • Jason

    I love it, had a BlackBerry waaay back in the day and I loved BBM. The majority of my friends have an iPhone, so iMessage will be extremely useful. I will definitely be downgrading my text plan to save a bit more money.

    • QuarterSwede

      Sam here. Almost everyone ibknow has an iPhone too. I’m getting rid of he text plan and paying per text to those not on an iDevice since I rarely text them. Save $$$.

  • STK10

    This is not a typical apple move either… save us money… whaaaaaaat. Steve must be on the way out 🙁

    • Chris

      Right? Along with making iCloud free? This is madness! Hahaha

  • Ernesto Castellanos

    All of my friends have some sort of iDevice. And there’s wifi almost everywhere now. (at my school, at home, at my local restaurants…etc.) So we will be using iMessage pretty often.

  • Kelvin

    You could always just use TextPlus for free messaging. O.O

  • Ciguapito

    I definitely will be downgrading my text message plan. Now days every penny I can save counts. Thanks Apple for continuing to do the right thing

  • XepptizZ

    The nice thing about it is that I dont need hree or four icons anymore, its all in one app now :D.

    As for the carriers, they are def gonna piss and moan. But i say to them: Suck it, bitch!

  • Shitappke

    No.

  • zaba

    att doesnt offer $5 plan anymore right? am using whatsapp and its a multiplateform messenger, i have used it over seas it works great

  • r

    why would the carriers even care? you still have to pay their overpriced data rates, and maybe if you use imessage enough you might even hit your data limit. and believe it or not, the majority of the world does not have an iphone so youll still be paying their overpriced texting rates too, unless you unlock and use tmobile.

  • Érico

    i wonder how do we know the differ between an iphone user from others.

    • Over

      Easy: Work – Don’t work…

  • Vincent

    I don’t see the problem. It’s just another texting over data service like the many apps in the App Store, and is limited to iOS 5 customers. Now, if this completely removed the need for texting…then I would agree Apple should haven given a heads up to the carriers, but it’s not.

  • kadz

    just wait till some smart ass hacks this .. n tweaks it up 2 work wt bbm lol .. then tha would be fuckin awesome !! 😀

  • ChrisMac

    TEXT FREE IS HERE FOR A REASON, YOU CANT BE THAT STUPID TO BUY A TEXT MESSAGE PLAN ON THE IPHONE, BUT IM NOT SAYING THAT IMESSAGE IS USELESS BUT WITH IMESSAGE AND THE TEXT FREE APP, WE DONT NEED TO PAY FOR TEXT AGAIN…

  • c0edx

    +1

  • Jamie Wales

    Why would I need my iPhone then, because apart from the phone part an iPod is the same now and has the same capabilities just about.