Amidst all the predictions and rumours in the weeks leading up to Apple’s iOS 5 announcement on Monday, Apple somehow managed to keep possibly one of the most significant new features well and truly hidden under its hat. According to MacRumors and Daring Fireball, iMessage was so secret that even Apple’s mobile carrier partners had to find out about it at the keynote speech, along with the rest of us! Since then, the announcement that Apple is essentially ushering in its own BBM-killer has sent shockwaves through the industry. There probably weren’t too many smiling faces at BlackBerry-maker RIM following Apple’s announcement on Monday, and as TechRadar reports, the news has already had a serious effect on RIM’s stocks, which fell to a four-year low on Tuesday, taking them below $37. As TechRadar notes, up until Apple’s announcement, BlackBerry Messenger was the only IM service of its type around, and very popular too.
According to Cult of Mac’s in-depth look at iMessage, it is not a standalone app, but in fact iMessages and SMS Texts combined into one app, Messages, meaning that you don’t have to switch between apps. According to Cult of Mac, Messages will automatically check whether or not the phone you’re trying to send an SMS message to is an iPhone with iOS 5 installed, and if it is, Messages will automatically send an iMessage instead of an SMS. The program will then update your Address Book, and a chat bubble will appear next to that person’s entry to indicate that they have iMessage. It will also give you the option to turn off SMS messaging altogether so that you only send iMessages, or vice versa. Even if you only have an iPod touch and no iPhone, you can send and receive iMessages via your Apple ID. iphone4forum