Apple bypasses carriers, trumps BlackBerry Messenger with free texting service

Apple has unveiled a new messaging service that lets iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users send text messages, contact information, photos and videos to other iOS users for free, bypassing carriers' expensive texting plans and hitting rival smartphone maker Research In Motion (RIM) where it hurts.

Apple’s iMessage service is in direct competition with RIM's signature messaging platform, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) - a feature which attracted many consumers to the now flailing smartphone platform.

"Apple's late move with iMessage will likely sound the death knell for BBM, which RIM has reportedly been looking to develop into apps for Android and Apple devices," explained Time Techland writer Chris Gayomali while also cautioning that "[i]n choosing to keep iMessage iOS-only, Apple is allowing third-party companies – like the wildly popular WhatsApp – to stay one step ahead by working across different platforms."

Twitter users filled the microblogs with an overly positive sentiment posting "iMessage > BBM and it looks like it SLAYS BBM.... just gets worse & worse each day for blackberry users," and "What I'm most excited about is iMessage, because I can now drop my texting plan to almost zero."

iMessage will be included in the forthcoming version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 5. The free software update will be available for iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, iPod touch (fourth generation) and iPod touch (third generation) in fall.

Visit Apple's iOS 5 website for a detailed look at some of the new features announced during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference on June 6 including the new Notification Center, Reminders, deep Twitter integration and NewsStand.

http://techland.time.com/2011/06/06/why-apples-imessage-repeats-blackberry-messengers-mistake/

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