Apple has been building support for the iMessage service into OS X Lion’s iChat application, reports Macrumors. The site says that a developer has shared two properties buried inside the framework for the Lion version of iChat that indicate that the cross-device messaging service will be making an appearance on the Mac as well as iOS devices.
The two strings, timeDelivered and timeRead, are signs of two features that only appear in iMessages, not iChat. The delivery notification and ‘message read’ notifications are two core features of iMessage that are not currently present in iChat. Arnold Kim believes that this is a solid sign that iMessage compatibility will be present in iChat soon.
@interface IMMessage : NSObject
While it seems logical that Apple would bring the iMessage protocol to Mac computers, allowing users to send messages freely from iOS devices to the Mac and vice versa, free of charge, this is the first sign we’ve seen of this actually happening. If you’re unfamiliar, iMessage isn’t a separate app, instead, it is built into the core of the stock Messages app, delivering peer-to-peer messages to any other iOS device without affecting a user’s text message allowance from their carrier.
Along with FaceTime for Mac, this would allow any user of an iOS device to communicate with anyone on a Mac by video or text. The prospect of iMessage coming to Mac has excited us from the beginning, as we feel that this could very well be the beginning of the end for the carrier’s death grip on consumers via voice and text messaging. If you couple this with a forward-looking device like a ‘3G’ version of the iPod touch and you’re looking at a massive shift in the power balance between phone manufacturers and carriers. Exciting times.