The first ever Ask Andru column featured a question about Apple's iMessage, a proprietary method the company uses to allow owners of iOS devices to send text messages, pictures, and videos to each other through Apple's servers, bypassing the traditional wireless carrier. This allows users to send as many messages as they want without having to pay a text message fee (or being docked against their texting plan if it isn't unlimited.)
We got a couple of follow-up questions from our readers, and we figured we'd address them here. First, from Rob, who had two questions:
Is there a way to force a message to go via the carrier? I was in a text messaging conversation with a friend, they went to Eastern Washington for the weekend and thus no 3G. iMessage doesn't seem to work on EDGE.
I'm a big fan of GeekWire, so when one of my Twitter followers suggested that I start a regular Q&A column for the site, focusing on consumer electronics and gadgets, I figured "Why not?" I talked with the crew, and the result is Ask Andru. In case you're curious about what qualifies me to answer your nagging questions about the devices that have become such an integrated part of our lives, well, I've been running Gear Live for over seven years now. If you're unfamiliar, Gear Live is one of the top gadget news and review sites in the world, and I absolutely love what I do. If you've got a question you'd like me to answer, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll throw it in the queue.
Our very first question deals with iMessage, a new feature introduced to iOS devices with the release of iOS 5:
After upgrading to iOS 5, sometimes I see an iMessage reference in my text-messaging app, and sometimes not, and it doesn't seem to be correlated to whether or not I'm on WiFi or 3G. I also see different colors. I know the idea is to be able to send text messages without going over the wireless carrier's network, but how the heck does this work and what's actually going on?
Right on time, Apple has release iOS 5 to the masses, and it's now available for your downloading pleasure for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, the iPad, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. iOS 5 brings with it a bunch of new features, including iMessage, iCloud, Notification Center, Twitter integration, and much more. Plug your iOS device in, and use iTunes to check for updates, and you'll be well on your way. Also, this may be the last time you'll need to tether a cable to your device to update, as iOS 5 also introduces over-the-air updates. Enjoy the new hotness!
Among the various iOS 5 features Apple chief Steve Jobs unveiled today at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2011) was iMessage, a messaging option for iOS devices reminiscent of RIM's BlackBerry Messenger.
Apple said iMessage "brings the functionality of iPhone messaging to all of your iOS devices―iPhone, iPad and iPod touch." It is built into the Messages app, and allows users to send messages, photos, videos, or contact information to other iOS 5 users via Wi-Fi or 3G.
Like BBM, however, iMessage will include delivery and read receipts, and typing indication, so you know if the person has received your message and if they are typing back. Apple's iMessage will also have secure end-to-end encryption.
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