I keep reading things about the stickiness of iMessage and I frankly do not get it … While I in no way discount the stellar design, performance and appeal of the iPhone I simply do not get the need for iMessage as a core service — meaning something that would keep me attached to the platform. There are literally countless ways to engage with people through messaging and depending on your age / need most likely a few in play at all times as well. The digital ink spilled about being a green bubble in a blue bubble conversation is ridiculous to me.
In our house of 5, there’s a healthy mix of use cases as we have two adults and 3 kids (12, 9 and 7). My wife and I no longer use iMessage or Apple Messages at all. We don’t have a home Mac anymore (Chromebooks are totally adequate and performant for our home tasks) and neither of us use an iPhone. My kids do use iMessage, but the level of usage truly varies by age and I can’t see it being a sticky point for them moving forward since it’s quite clear that needs and usage changes with age and experience.
At 7, my son is the youngest and does not have a phone, but uses his iPad Mini as a portable games and video machine. He uses iMessage to connect with his sisters and the neighbors to arrange quick get togethers. He’ll also use Facetime to quickly call and hangout with the kids next door when they can’t quite get together in person.
Our middle daughter (9) uses iMessage to text us (though I’ve been migrating her to Allo without any resistance) and maintains a few group chats with kids at school. The kids don’t seem to require or use anything special to stay in contact. In fact it’s really just text with a good bit of emoji mixed in. Facetime does come into play here too actually as the iPhone is the default phone for the kids at school, but voice and video usage seem to pale in comparison to text chat … what’s really taking over however are the use of other platforms like Musical.ly, Instagram and Snapchat.
My oldest (almost 13) has quickly become a power user as you might expect. She certainly uses iMessage and Facetime to chat with friends, but mostly is all over Snapchat and Instagram.
Similar to the other kids there are no special iMessage features of any kind being used that I’m aware off aside from the occasional piece of flair. I’m struggling to see the true importance of knowing that everyone is on the same platform vs just being able to reach one another. Migrating away has some technical challenges which have been well documented thanks to how messages are routed but really is not that big a deal. I’m not suggesting Allow or WhatsApp is the ultimate but my bias is certainly towards cross-platform opportunities.