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Apple merging iMessage and iChat, launches in a few weeks?

There is hard evidence that Apple is looking to add iMessage support to iChat, according to a new report from MacRumors. This would further increase the size of the iMessage user base, expanding to the desktop in addition to being available on almost all iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices. According to the report, a developer found code references to the following in the OS X Lion version of iChat:

@interface IMMessage : NSObject
IMHandle *_sender;
IMHandle *_subject;
NSAttributedString *_text;
NSString *_plainBody;
NSDate *_time;
NSDate *_timeDelivered;
NSDate *_timeRead;

With iMessage available on all Mac computers, your conversations will literally follow you and be available wherever you go, and I personally can’t wait. Read on for more.

Instead of having to use my phone when I’m sitting at a computer working, I’ll be able reply and start new messages without leaving whatever I’m working on or doing. With delivery and read notifications — and, presumably, support for multimedia file transfers — this will be a much more intimate experience than traditional IM, and it will also simplify instant messaging on all Apple devices.

Contrast this with Research In Motion, whose BBM service Apple is copying. RIM still doesn’t offer a desktop BlackBerry Messenger feature after years of users begging for one, and you can see how different each company’s strategy and product plans really are.

Apple’s iMessage instant messaging feature was announced only in June and has been available in beta form since then to developers, but starting as soon as the end of this month or the beginning of next, iMessage could be available on all Apple devices. And what was arguably the No. 1 reason consumers bought and used BlackBerry smartphones will quickly become yet another reason people buy Apple devices instead.

Jonathan Geller is the founder of Boy Genius Report, now known as BGR, and one of the biggest tech & mobile destinations in the world.

BGR was acquired by leading digital media company PMC in April 2010 and Jonathan is President and Editor-in-chief of BGR Media, LLC. Jonathan was named to Forbes' coveted 30 under 30 list in 2016, and frequently appears as a commentator on news channels such as CNBC, Fox News, ABC News and Bloomberg.

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