%Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) is taking steps that will make it easier for people to send text messages between its iPhones and competing Android devices.
The iPhone maker says that it will adopt a technological standard next year that will allow text messaging to operate more smoothly between iPhones and Android-based smartphones.
The move marks a major reversal for Apple, which until now had resisted attempts to standardize text messaging across devices.
The new technology that Apple (Nasdaq: $AAPL) will adopt is called %RichCommunicationServices (RCS) and is widely viewed as superior to SMS and MMS texting that’s the standard today.
The RCS technology allows more texting features to be shared over phones on different platforms.
Going forward, iPhone users will be able to text Android users over Wi-Fi and not just via cellular networks.
People will also be able to send larger video and photo files, more easily operate group chats, and determine if messages are received and read.
Until now, Apple had been extremely protective of its iMessage system, which preserves many texting features for exclusive use on its devices such as the iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad.
Currently, iPhone users know they are texting another Apple customer because the chat bubbles are blue, while messages from Android operated devices appear in the colour green.
The change to texting comes as Apple faces enhanced regulatory scrutiny. The company is also planning to overhaul its iPhone and iPad software to comply with European Union standards.
Apple’s stock has risen 52% this year and currently trades at $189.71 U.S. per share.