I’ve been a happy iPhone user since picking mine up on launch day last summer for the iPhone4.Â With the announcement of the much anticipated and then slightly disappointing 4s I’ve chosen to not upgrade, there’s not enough bang for the buck and I’m still tied to my current contract for another 8ish months.Â What I did do was upgrade to iOS5 though, curious to get some of the new features and functions; one of which is iMessage.
Even though reports on Twitter and Facebook the night of the iOS update launched were filled with horror stories of users losing all their contacts, paid apps and causing hours of pain, I did the update.Â After one last Sync with iTunes (which needed to be updated to 10.5) I ran the iOS update and felt no pain, no problems and no loss of data.Â After playing with a few of the features I went to bed as it was late and didn’t think much of it.
That following Friday the 4s was released and a friend picked one up and started to txt me.Â I noticed the colors looked a little different but didn’t think much of it.Â Then I saw the … bubble indicating he was sending me a txt and realized we were using iMessage, it’s turned on by default.Â Cool I guess?
iMessage is kind of creepy in that it knows when two users are both running iOS5, as my iPhone friends updated their phones and bought the new 4s I started to see more and more of them switch to iMessage.Â Curious how it worked, I did a quick Google search.Â It’s straightforward, a proprietary messaging system that utilizes your existing number or email address when both users are running iOS5; unlike Blackberry’s BBM service which requires a separate number, or those who are old enough to remember using Nextel’s two-way walkie talkie function.Â It runs over Wi-Fi or 3g when not available and is only supposed to use a minute amount of data when not on Wi-Fi.
Up until yesterday I had no real issues, that I knew about with it.Â The concept is cool, except that I’m sure Apple somewhere along the lines now is seeing our information since it must be going through their servers, right?Â A txt conversation with a friend resulted in me seeing something really weird, and I asked what in the world they were talking about, took a screen shot of the conversation and sent it to them, all via iMessage.Â Turns out I didn’t understand what was going on in the conversation because the message my friend sent never got to me! That’s a problem.Â Who do I complain to about that?Â When it was a straight up txt I could complain to AT&T, but not now.
Many are praising Apple for developing this technology, it can / will force the hand of service providers AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to rethink their current text message plans since users can now circumvent them.Â I remember reading somewhere that the cost of a service provider to allow a user to send 20 txt messages a month and 2,000 is no different, they just charge us more because they can.Â I’d love nothing more than to save a few bucks on what I already consider to be a bill that’s too high by reducing my unlimited txt plan to the next step down, for me that’s 200 from AT&T.Â I can’t do it though.
At best 40% of my friends use iPhones, of those less than 10% have upgraded their OS yet or have the new iPhone.Â Since there is no way to control or restrict the amount of incoming messages, I know with my current usage (usually between 4,500 and 8,000 txt messages a month) 200 would never cut it. Even if I could, I’d be worried of hitting the 2GB data limit in my plan, I wasn’t grandfathered into unlimited.Â Again, I send and receive a ton of photos each month, 5mp camera in my iPhone and 8mp in the new 4s, all as 3g over iMessage woud add up. Apple has now forced my hand to decide.
With a failed iMessage already I have mixed feelings about leaving the service turned on and I don’t want to turn on delivery confirmation to get those notices too.Â There’s also no solid information, that I can find, about whose servers these iMessages are being sent through.
I praise Apple for making a service that has great intentions and I hope it really makes the service providers look at the fees they charge their customers because this could be a game changer.Â While I’m willing to chalk up this one experience as a it’s new and maybe the system is overloaded or not all the bugs are worked out, my questions may never get answers which will more than likely result in turning the service off.
Please share your experiences, positive or negative with iMessage.