You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave!

The algorithm as I imagine it should be:

The way I imagine it is written right now:

Thanks for the big FU Apple!

Do I sound a little angry? Well I am. Yesterday, I received (10 days prior to official release) the latest and greatest Samsung Note. It is a beautiful device with an amazing screen. It is fast. It has a great camera (two of them actually) and it runs Android which, for a technologist like me, is a great operating system.

I received it at 2:00pm.

I wiped it out and put it back in its box at around 9pm knowing that I am going to return it today back to AT&T.

What happened between 2:00pm and 9:00pm that made me put it back in the box had nothing to do with Samsung and a whole lot to do with Apple’s big FU to anyone who is even thinking about switching from the iPhone.

My previous phone was an Apple iPhone and just about everyone that I know uses one. As such, all of my family, social and business contacts use group messages to communicate. I have multiple groups with my kids, my friends and my business contacts. I used these groups on a daily basis and some of them have hundreds of messages, pictures, videos, documents and whole sort of information. Most of these are iMessage group messages. And why not? Apple gives people an incentive to use iMessage. You can do cool things with it. You can send large videos and pictures without degradation of quality. You can see who saw the message and who hasn’t yet. You can send money to people and now you can even use apps in iMessage. The incentive is definitely there. iMessage is superior to text messaging and that is a message that is clear and understood very well since Apple likes to boast how many trillions of messages have been sent via iMessage. I get it. iMessage is better.

But iMessage is not available on any other platform other than Apple. It is a proprietary protocol and Apple will keep it this way. There were rumors that they were working on an iMessage for Android but its the type of rumor that I’ll believe it when I see it. When google came out with their own messaging platform (they’ve had several of those but I am referring to Allo), they released an Android and an Apple app. They opened their platform to everyone. They did it mostly to get traction knowing that the other 40% of the world is using Apple devices. Apple will not. Apple is perfectly happy with only letting their customers use iMessage even if it means that it limits the platform’s usage and I tend to agree with them. iMessage is, now, a whole lot more than just a messaging platform and why introduce more unknowns into something that is generally perfect? I’d do the same thing. But the problem with iMessage is that it is exactly like the Eagles’ song Hotel California. You can check out any time you like but you can never leave!

The issue with iMessage is that if you lost your phone, broke your phone, traveling to another country and can’t use your carrier locked iPhone or generally want to switch to any other phone other than Apple, you can do it. Apple will even let you un-register your phone number from iMessage. You’ll be happy with your new phone sending text messages to other phones. Effectively, you have checked out of iMessage and Apple. But just like the song goes, you could never leave!

You are screwed and reminded of that when it comes to group messages. If you have group messages that was with only iMessage users you are screwed! iMessage will continue sending messages to the number that was un-registered from iMessage as iMessage messages. The only way to correct this is to have everyone in the group delete the group from their phones and then for the one person who is not using iMessage to start the group message again. At that point the group will start as a text message group (MMS) but everyone had to have deleted the group in the first place. In my case, that meant that I would have to ask the average 8–10 people on each group that I have (and I have many many groups) to delete the group and lose what is potentially years of messages, photos, videos and documents simply because I decided to change a phone? I don’t have to ask them to do that, I already know what the answer will be. I also can’t setup a new group with the same people because iMessage will automatically assume that it is the same group as before and if even one person didn’t delete the group from their phone, those messages will go to the big unknown iMessage hell. The practice has been named by the internet as iMessage Hijacking and it is not new.

Apple has been sued for this in the past. Back in 2014, before they had a tool that was able to de-register your number from their servers, Apple was sued for this practice. It was because of that lawsuit that they released the tool in November 2014. But that tool only works on one-to-one conversations in iMessage or new conversations. It does not work for group messages. People have complained about this and have received responses from Apple such as the following message:

I agree that MMS is a weaker technology but Apple is essentially forcing people to stay with Apple devices simply because they think that MMS is inferior to iMessage. But MMS is currently the only standard that is common across carriers and phone manufacturers. What makes this very frustrating is that Apple can fix this but will not.

So now I am back to using an iPhone and now I am getting all of my messages. Eventually, I’ll have to change my number so that I can start new group messages that are not iMessage based and then I will be able to use a different phone. But that isn’t an optimal solution either considering the last time I did that was 2 years ago and there are still people calling me on the old number which is just getting forwarded to my new number. Just like the song says… You can check out anytime you want, but you can never leave!

An after thought about messaging:

To AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and every other carrier out there claiming that they have the most advanced network and technology in the world…

Can you guys please get together and come up with a superior messaging protocol???

It is sad that with today’s technology advancement, MMS is such a sad protocol that does not allow hi-res videos, pictures, music or anything worth sending?A friend sent me a video last night. 10 seconds taken on an iPhone and when it was sent via MMS, it was grainy as hell and without any detail.

Don’t you think its time for these protocols to catch up with the 21st century? I think you could come up with a Data Based MMS protocol (DBMMS — you guys can have this one for free). One that relies on the data connection that all of the devices today have to communicate. If you can support wifi calling, why can’t you support wifi or data based communication protocol? Apple, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, WeChat, Whatsapp, and a whole lot of other companies can do it. Why can’t you?

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