Jason Snell: ‘Google Has It All Wrong. Apple’s iMessage Is Actually a Failure.’

Jason Snell, guns-a-blazing at Macworld:

The reason that I consider iMessage more of a failure than success is all about its slow pace of development and poor choices, especially compared with the WhatsApps and WeChats of the world.

The truth is, at some point Apple realized it was competing with those apps. The result was its introduction of the iMessage App Store, which it clearly thought would take the world by storm. It was a flop. Which, fair enough–Apple took its shot and it missed.

The old adage about Microsoft, which has a lot of truth to it, is that they’d come out with a rushed stinker of a 1.0, but doggedly stick with it and by 3.0 have something successful. (That’s 100 percent what happened with Windows, a product that has been somewhat successful for them.) Apple has a tendency to either hit home runs out of the box (iPod, iPhone, AirPods) or come out with a dud and just sweep it under the rug, like iMessage apps and stickers. They even unified Messages on a single code base last year (bringing the iOS app to MacOS 11 via Catalyst — quite successfully) but somehow still haven’t bothered to add iMessage stickers on Mac?


But even when Apple gets a clear iMessage win, it ends up muddy. Tapbacks are a user-experience problem for people who aren’t on iMessage, one so bad that Google added Tapback translation to Android. And after introducing the feature with six possible emoji-style reactions, Apple has… never touched that feature again. Why not add more reactions? Why not let users tap back with any emoji? Or pick favorites? There’s no answer. Nobody’s home.

I’d pay an extra $5/month to Apple for iCloud if it included a middle-finger Tapback. Just that one.

Wednesday, 19 January 2022