Although RCS is mainly associated with Google and Android, it aims to become a general industry standard managed by GSMA to replace SMS and MMS, regardless of platform. According to the GSM Association, there are currently 473 million active RCS users worldwide.
As RCS has been adopted to a greater degree in the United States, this number should increase. All the major operators there choose to use Google Messages with built-in RCS support as the default application in the Android phones they sell (recently Verizon).
However, Apple has always been on the sidelines, just letting RCS become a way for all smartphone users to communicate with each other, with modern and safe features. Android CEO Hiroshi Lockheimer had previously invited Apple to implement RCS.
Text messages between iPhones are transmitted and encrypted through Imessage, and because of RCS, more and more regular messages between Android phones will be encrypted. However, for messages between the two operating systems, insecure SMS will be used because Apple does not support the new technology.
If it is still SMS, the fallback message experience on other platforms will not be encrypted. I think this is a very interesting development, and I hope that when everyone is concerned about security and privacy, it will become an important part of the discussion.
Lockheimer initiated a moderate persuasion campaign, pointing out that when Imessage is unavailable, “another platform” will not provide encryption. However, it is unlikely that Apple will implement RCS.
Apple even chose not to comment on the matter. The company also sees Imessage as a way for customers to continue buying iPhones. There is not much benefit for the tech giant to provide similar functions across all smartphones, even if it is an advantage for customers.