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

Published Sep 14th, 2011 2:54PM EDT

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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 S. Geller
Jonathan Geller Founder, President & Editor-in-chief

Jonathan S. Geller founded Boy Genius Report, now known as BGR, in 2006. It became the biggest mobile news destination in the world by the end of 2009, and BGR was acquired by leading digital media company PMC in April 2010.

Jonathan is President of BGR Media, LLC., and Editor-in-chief of the BGR website.

What started as a side project at the age of 16, quickly transpired into 24-hour days and nights of sharing exclusive and breaking news about the mobile communications industry. BGR now reaches up to 100 million readers a month through the website, syndication partners, and additional channels.