Home Apple’s iMessage Will Work With iChat, Bridging the Gap Between Text and IM

Apple’s iMessage Will Work With iChat, Bridging the Gap Between Text and IM

When Steve Jobs unveiled iMessage, Apple’s new cross-device mobile messaging feature, at the WWDC in June, fans of the company’s products were excited to see a potential “SMS killer” coming down the pike. What the company’s then-CEO failed to mention is that the service will work with their iChat desktop client as well.

iMessage, which will be rolled out to iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch users when iOS drops this Fall, will apparently be available to users of OS X Lion via the iChat application, according to Mac Rumors.

A developer noticed two new properties in the source code for the iChat framework that are only supported in iMessage and have to do with the timestamps of sent messages. The evidence is not particularly overwhelming, but the move would make sense. Apple has plugged the gap between iOS and Mac OS X with other services, including Facetime video chat. Enabling people to use iMessage from iChat would take Apple’s purported “SMS killer” and extend its functionality all the way to the desktop, making it that much more attractive to users.

Sending and receiving SMS messages has long been a source both of revenue for mobile carriers and pain for consumers, who tend to pay fees for texting that are disproportionate to the size of the data being sent.

Although it’s not clear exactly when the feature will be rolled out to desktops, it will arrive for mobile and tablet users as part of the next version of iOS due to roll out in a matter of weeks. Other sought-after features in iOS 5 will include a new notifications system, wireless syncing of content and data across devices, deep Twitter integration and a native to-do list management app.

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