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Tim Cook says ‘buy your mom an iPhone’ if you want to end green bubbles

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Asked about RCS support in iMessage, Apple’s CEO said users aren’t asking for it

Apple CEO Tim Cook dismissed the idea of adopting RCS messaging to put an end to the green bubbles that surround messages when iPhone users text someone on an Android device.

“I don’t hear our users asking that we put a lot of energy in on that at this point,” Cook said when asked how Apple founder Steve Jobs would feel about using the RCS standard in iMessage during Vox Media’s Code 2022 event on Wednesday night. Instead, Cook said, “I would love to convert you to an iPhone.”

Video of the panel is now available on YouTube, and you can watch it by clicking here or where it is embedded above, and cued up to the question at the 1 hour, 15-second mark.

But the person who asked the question, Vox Media’s LiQuan Hunt, came back with a valid complaint, saying that his mother can’t see the videos he sends her. It all comes down to a lack of interoperability between iMessage and RCS, both messaging systems that could allow higher-quality images and videos — if they worked together. If you’ve tried to send a video from Android to iOS (or vice versa) using your regular text messaging app, then you know that your videos come out completely fuzzy on the other end. Cook’s suggestion to fix this annoying issue? “Buy your mom an iPhone.”

While it may seem silly, the bubble color in iMessage that distinguishes Android (green) users from fellow iPhone users (blue) has become a point of contention. Google’s campaign to publicly shame Apple into adopting the standard has clearly had no effect on Cook, who is publicly focusing on opinions from people who have iPhones. Of course, there are other reasons to avoid adding RCS. Emails unearthed in the Epic trial showed Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi saying, “iMessage on Android would simply serve to remove [an] obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones.”

Update September 16th, 3:50PMET: Added video of the event from YouTube.

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