iMessage is Apple’s new messaging command center that allows iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads to communicate with each other. As the latter two products lack text messaging and picture messaging–SMS and MMS–capabilities, this will allow those devices to send text or feature-rich messages to iPhones and with each other.
The service will definitely allow iOS devices to become social without having to compete directly in the same space with Twitter and Facebook on the larger social networking side of things. The service, while simple, is a great idea as it borrows a major page from Research in Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) client that’s been hugely popular among enterprise and consumer customers and is seen as one of the points to stick with the BlackBerry platform.
As Apple is keeping iMessage a closed ecosystem for now and limiting it to iOS devices, if you want to play with your BFFs with iPhone devices, you’ll have to make the switch to be hip in your social circle.
However, as a consumer-centric service, RIM users who are in the corporate space may be lured towards iMessage but may not find the security enhancements that RIM has built into BBM. As BBM is seen as one of the major features that are preventing BlackBerry owners from switching to iOS and Android, iMessage may potentially have a large impact on RIM’s move on the consumer space.
Essentially, iMessage is the SMS experience on the iPhone ported to the non-phone devices. It’s unclear if the re-vamped app will allow iPhone owners to actually bypass the SMS and MMS plan requirements by carriers, or if they can communicate with other iOS users without having to have a separate messaging plan or get charged a la carte.