Apple might bring another app to Android. And this is a big one.
Apple is planning to offer its iMessage messaging application on Android and could unveil the feature at its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote in San Francisco on Monday, Apple-tracking site MacDailyNews is reporting, citing a source.
Apple’s (AAPL) iMessage was released in 2011 as an alternative to traditional text messages users might send through their carrier. On Apple’s mobile devices, including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, users are able to send text messages, video, audio, and even their location to each other. Users can also message users on the Mac, where the software is also supported.
However, Apple has yet to make iMessage available on other services, bucking an industry trend. In fact, users can employ Google’s (GOOGL) Hangouts app to chat between iPhones and Android devices with ease. Even BlackBerry (BBRY), which has long remained committed to its BBM messaging application, now offers it on competing operating systems. Apple has been a notable outlier.
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Despite only living inside Apple’s products, iMessage has proven extremely popular. In February, in fact, Apple announced that 200,000 messages were sent each second through iMessage. The company didn’t say, however, exactly how many users it has.
Delivering iMessage to Android could be a boon for Apple and put the company squarely in competition with other popular messaging applications, like Facebook (FB) Messenger, WhatsApp, and Kik. Messaging applications have become increasingly popular over the last few years, and there is little reason, given the gold rush in that market, for Apple to keep its service, which has many of the same features as the competition, locked into its products.
There’s even a precedent: Apple currently offers its streaming-music service Apple Music on Android devices. So, while Apple might prefer to keep its proprietary software on its devices, it doesn’t always take that tack.
According to the MacDailyNews source, it’s also possible that Apple might not announce iMessage Android support at WWDC and that the company is determining now ahead of the keynote on Monday whether it should announce the feature then or at some point in the future. Regardless, the source says Apple will offer iMessage on Android at some point this year.
For those who don’t want to wait, though, there is a quasi-solution.
For more on Apple, watch:
In May, iPhone user Eric Chee posted a hack to GitHub that would allow Android owners to communicate with Apple users via iMessage. The hack, called PieMessage, requires a series of advanced steps, including using AppleScripts and Java apps, but works and allows Android owners to talk over iMessage.
Chances are, Apple’s solution will be much easier—if it actually exists.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.