Apple iOS 8: Just How Big is the Price Tag on the Improved iMessage

Apple’s announcement of iOS 8 at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) would have surely gotten many heartbeats racing. Touting a wide array of additions and improvements, the newest iteration of the mobile operating software appears to contain just the right amount of ingredients for success. Talking about success, the tech giant dedicated a fair amount of time discussing the enhancements made in its successful instant-messaging app iMessage during the conference. From the looks of it, Apple seems to have hit the nail right on its head, though there are definitely some things that it still needs to look at.

Apple’s response to the competition

Despite being pitted against the likes of WhatsApp, Viber and Facebook Messenger, Apple has been managing to fare quite well in the instant messaging communications, courtesy of its iMessage. Perhaps not taking the popularity of the app for granted, the tech giant has made some notable additions and enhancements to the app in a bid to raise its appeal for iPhone and iPad users. The newest iteration of iMessage allows users to send audio messages as well as selfies in a fashion that can be best described as uber-convenient. Furthermore, self-destructing messages have made their way to the Apple app. While the concept is not too different from that of Snapchat, the ability to save these messages does manage to set it apart from the service that seems to be its inspiration. The iOS 8 version of iMessage further offers users more control of their conversations by giving them the ability to mute certain communications with the Do Not Disturb feature, add or remove peers from the list, or even rename threads. Apple is also offering its users additional convenience by letting them view their attachments at once rather than making them go through iMessage to locate a particular photo or video. Apple clearly seems to have done its homework to get a fair idea of what its users expect of their preferred instant messaging app.

Bad news for your data plan

It’s hard not to get impressed by the improvements made to iMessage, but unfortunately for Apple, it may have made a major blunder. The audio and video messages, as well as selfies sent through iMessage use up cellular data irrespective of whether the user is connected to Wi-Fi or not. Turning the data off prevents these messages from being sent or delivered until it’s turned on again. So far, keeping cellular data on seems to be the only option for those who want to make the most of what Apple has to offer with the new version of iMessage. This, however, is likely to prove pretty expensive for anyone without the rare unlimited data plan.

Security matters

Another concern about the new iMessage is its security. Before you start panicking, no there hasn’t been any news of a gaping security loophole. In fact, there hasn’t been any news on the security protocols of Apple’s instant messaging app at all, which is a problem in itself. Over the year, WhatsApp has come under fire many times over its failure to offer an impeccable secure channel for communications. iMessage hasn’t exactly been an epitome of secure instant-messaging app either, with security researchers pointing that the end-to-end encryption of messages during transmission hardly makes it impossible for Apple to take a peek at them. Furthermore, it’s not clear just for how long does the tech giant keep user messages stored on its servers. The official word is seven days, but there are doubts on that.

Even though Apple appears to have made some pretty nice changes to iMessage, the success of the app is hard to predict due to its consumption of the data plan and unknown security. Hopefully, the company will make the necessary changes and share some more information about the app to put these concerns to rest.

By By Katherine Kayden from

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