iMessage to destroy text messaging plans?

Josh mentioned iMessage, one of the new elements in iOS 5, in his post yesterday, but have we thought about the implications of this function? Apparently, according to Daring Fireball, iPhone carriers AT&T, Verizon, and others found out about the new messaging app at the keynote yesterday.

iMessage gives iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users free and unlimited text, picture, video, location, or data messaging between iOS 5 devices (iPhones, iPod touches, & iPads). So if a user has enough contacts also using iOS 5 devices, their typical text messaging plan from their service provider will become obsolete. Carriers can’t be happy about this little “surprise” that Apple has dropped.

iMessage is included in iCloud, so you can start a conversation on one device and continue it on another. Track messages, have group messaging conversations, get receipts when messages have been read, see when friends are typing a response, and even encrypt messages with the app. Hopefully the app will find its way into the next Mac operating system as well, adding one more (very important!) device to the iMessage family.

So if we look at iMessage and Skype as only the beginning, are phone plans becoming completely obsolete? Will the Internet and personal devices kill phone plans as we know it?

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  • Brian

    It will kill SMS just like any other IM platform has. Ie: not at all.

    Until everyone I know has a smartphone with data plan, SMS will still have a purpose. And that is going to be a long time. (not even considering getting everyone on the same os, which won’t ever happen…)

  • Erik

    None of the other cross platform IMs or BBM (iMessage’s reference template) have killed text messaging yet, so the carriers are probably not worried. Plus the carriers are already pushing for capped data plans for other unrelated reasons so to them it’s just a littel extra data pushing through a capped plan.