iOS 5 iMessages vs. BlackBerry BBM - Fight!

How does Apple's brand new iOS 5 iMessage compare to the stalwart Blackberry BBM on BB OS 6? Check out the video above as Kevin Michaluk and Bla1ze from bring their Berrys to the table against the iPhone for a one-on-one instant messaging show down! Does BlackBerry still own the crack, or has iOS just become leader of the pack?

BBM is far more functional -- I joked it's like the FaceBook of IM with groups, comments, and more -- while iOS keeps things really simple and bundles it right into the SMS/MMS app.

They're both really snappy, both show writing and delivered states, and offer read receipts, and both are proprietary (yeah) so no cross-platforming yet. BBM is a huge lock-in on BlackBerry and might be the same on iOS.

Could this be enough to make RIM finally bring BBM to iOS? Which would you prefer?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 81 comments. Add yours.

jaowens says:

No contest. iOS is way better.

Booo@tt says:

someday you people will learn that there is more to life than what OS your phone has

am says:

Apparently you don't realize this is a website about an operating system... Where people talk about it...

Paul Zammit says:

You're wrong about the "Read" on iOS. Turn it on from the settings.

Jonathan Seals says:

Both. Lots of blackberry friends and lots of iOS friends.

Jonathan Hoover says:

iMessages shows read receipts if the user enables it in settings

Banjoe says:

Could you guys/gals of TiPb, please, give us more videos that cover various IOS5 features and apps in detail?

Jcman7690 says:

They are techinaqually not supposed to show anything that apple didn't show. It's a nda thing you agree to when you agree to use the beta software

Bangoe says:

OK. No problem. Good to know. Thanks.

Mick says:

Tbh I think all the platforms have there advantages and disadvantages but for me it's the style and build quality of Apple products as the way a device looks is as important as what it can do for me personally.

Glenn#IM says:

Would be nice to have an iPhone 5 now to use it. With all the other products gearing up to be released this summer, I think Apple made a mistake not getting in the mix in June. iPhone 5 will be a great product, but in September, or August, just not sure if this was a good move.

Glenn#IM says:

I posted but it disappeared? Need to get used to this.

Powder8u88le says:

Love the litto video clip; banter was great! Mmm BBM has it over iM. Apple are soooo struggling to keep up with the game! Folks are needing more than just LQQKs! =-)

Magabury says:

I couldn't help but chuckle at this. I really hope the part about Apple struggling is just sarcasm, and you weren't serious about that.

Powder8u88le says:

Nope; 'twas from the heart! A 4 was my first iPhone, no way was I parting with my hard earned cash for earlier versions. Technically they were substandard and I mean well below what the rest of the Market had to offer. There's a whole plethora of annoying, lack of forethough design "flaws" and now, I'm not holding my breath that iOS 5 will crack the back of these!!! Premium price, (I paid £599 for my phone) dire OS! =-)

Gregz0r says:

Nokia recently launched their IM service for Ovi, called 'IM', but no-one cares about Ovi Store, lol.

part2346 says:

RIM can't bring BBM to iOS now that it would directly compete with a core functionality of iOS. That's almost certainly why Apple rushed the product out with such limited functionality - to keep RIM out of the garden.

MILE says:

What limited functionality…?! For the majority of regular users this is more than enough…

Glenn#IM says:

Anyway, would have been nice to have an iPhone 5 now to use this. IOS 5, and iPhone 5 will be great, but with all the newer devices out now, and more coming, did Apple take a chance waiting until Sept, or even later? I can wait, but it is hard.

Tweger010 says:

I'm glad it let's you turn read receipts off, I don't want people know when I read their messages.

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Analog Spirit says:

When I had my BB I used BBM, but not often enough for it to be a dealbreaker if any other phone didn't have it. I much prefer iOS as an overall package, and having iMessage helps to make it even more well-rounded as a platform.

MILE says:

The group feature in BBM is actually kinda nifty -- other than that I think iMessage totally rocks…! :)
Hey, wait -- you guys finally switched to Disqus for comments…?!? Yay…!! :)

Hedwig Guerra says:

Wow, congrats on using Disqus!

dehrlich01 says:

I have both the iPhone 4 and Blackberry Bold. As much as the iPhone is better than the Blackberry, there is no contest as far as BBM vs. iMessage. BBM is vastly superior. That's not to say that in the future, with updates, that iMessage won't surpass BBM. But, for the time being, BBM is the king of IM.

Booo@tt says:

listen to yourself. do you really care? "king of im" haha

TJO3 says:

BBM has also been around for a very, very long time. iMessage is still in beta. I think that iMessage could eventually overtake BlackBerry Messenger, but it really matters with what your friends have. You can use BlackBerry Messenger all you want, but if I still have my Atrix then it means nothing, and the same applies to those with iMessage. The king of IM will be one that makes a high quality, cross-platform application.

Jason says:

I'm a little confused here, forgive me. What's the point exactly in iMessage? I mean, I don't get it, it's text messaging between 2 iPhones/iOS devices? Other than communication between iPhone and say iPad, what's the point?
Also, did tipb change the site? I don't get the mobile version I loved so much anymore and can't figure out how to switch it back?

Mick says:

You can text any1 with an ios device for free rather than a normal texy which obviously comes off your allowance with your carrier.

Ethan S. says:

To add, you can message between any iOS device on iOS 5, such as iPads and iPod Touches, which can't text, but now can message.

Phil DeLong says:

I like the integration with sms, and most, if not all, of my blackberry friends have jumped ship to iPhone or Android, so it easily wins over bbm to me.

RagedUSMC says:

I agree...iOS is much better..Video proved it

Pnpdev says:

BB does have a unfied inbox option that autimatically switches to the corresponding app when you select a message, be it BBM, email, or sms. You can also assign a hardware button for quick access to BBM and assign tones. You also didn't mention that BBM lets you customize your status, lets others see what your listening to, leave your thoughts like Facebook, and can let other users know in what time zone you are in.
I just switched from BB to iPhone and I can say that I do miss the integration of messaging into the phone that BB has. So for now I resort to Pingchat since most of my friends are on BB. So definitely would love to see RIM give iPhone some love.

Mark419ny says:

its not even a comparison. ios is way better. if you get a text or bbm on a berry you have to go to 2 different spots to find them. the only thing bbm had on ios is that the bbm was free well now ios is free too. bbm is just another way to text. you can use whatever its all the same sms bbm aim yahoo facebook chat whatever its all the same bbm isnt special. i love when i hear i wont give up the berry cause of bbm. its like using an 8 track tape

Guest says:

you got to be kidding me?
1st: BBOS 6 is better
2nd: you can change the settings to send bbm's to sms (and even going to different places isn't that hard, are you that lazy?)
3rd: bbm has never been on iOS, and it isn't free, it's included when you buy the phone (same for iOS)
4th: it might be just another way to text, but it's better: groups, broadcast, etc.

Guest says:

but it's ok, we are different, we like different things, sorry if I was a little bit rude

Tina Vane says:

bbm shits all over ios as far as the messenging goes...but these people r dingy

The Gadgeteur says:

BBOS 6 != better. In reality, BBOS 6 is just 4.1/2/3 with a prettier (questionably) face.

Jonathan Seals says:

You're not a very good troll.

Kaiser says:

You don't HAVE to go to two differen't places. That's just how Kevin had his set up in that video. Mine is all in one spot.

Tina Vane says:

question does this work in a way like the bb where it gives u a id number or u have to give out ur number? if so its a fail so next
i will keep using liveprofile

Booo@tt says:

"iOS 5 iMessages vs. BlackBerry BBM – Fight!" great fight if you ask me. I hope my iPhone beats that Blackberry senseless with its messaging system. or who knows what will happen?

Kei says:

I want the ability to hide if I'm reading or typing.

Tonyyo says:

You guys are fighting for nothing, have you try whatsapp, liveprofile, they are really good but I like whatsapp more. I communicated with people around the world, also, works with iPhones, droids, blackberry and nokias. So who f.. Care about bbm, o iMessage, please give a break..
We all know that blackjunk, is a dinosaur and a soon you buy a new one and get it out of the box is already obsolete.
Think guys, AppStore, droid market, app world, they offer a bunch of different messengers.

OmariJames says:

I don't think it necessary to bring BBM to the iPhone. I think there's an app for that , no pun intended , Live Profile. I
f anything I see RIM making an application for the iPhone that allows iPhone users to message blackberry users.

MalayTim says:

The answer will be "X" when it provides universal messaging across all interesting platforms without extra charges other than your data plan. That's not here yet, but it will be...

phinx404 says:

I used to be a big BB guy. Had 6 over 3yrs before coming to iPhone 4. Running iOS 5 using imessage compared to bbm for basic messages yea they are pretty much the same but as far as groups, group chat for large groups of friends to all chat at same time and add photos so everyone in the group can talk about it and leave comments on it. Well imessage can't compete with it. Bbm owns groups aspect for now. Saying that bbm has had groups for sometime now. Imessage is in beta 1. So given more time I would expect it to be the same if not better adding some apple flair to it!!!

Jason says:

Have you used the new iMessage feature?

Devon Henderson says:

Is iMessage better than BBM? No (though it is damn good). Is it a good enough reason for a large majority of BB users that want iPhones but didn't want to lose BBM to switch? You betcha.

Hoosiercub says:

Considering that BBM works thoroughly device PIN on a Blackberry device, I don't ever see it going cross platform. I like that there are options like Beluga and whatsapp but don't think anything will ever replace the convenience, power, and simplicity of BBM.

SMS SPY says:

I think Apple will succeed ONLY if they manage to make it where you can message friends worldwide for free. This is what makes Blackberry 'Magical', the fact I can hit up ANY friend or family memeber in any part of the world for free without ANY international charges. If Apple can somehow, have it do the the same exact fuctionality that Blackberry does, they will succeed and you know what...that's when I will switch. As much as I love RIM, they're going at a really slow pace and making some questionable decisions that has made me think wether to stay or go. I love the new phones that are gonna be coming out but by September or later timeframe- as much as technology and the Android phone companies pump out new and improved phones, that new hardware will be obsolete. RIM should have brought out dual cores on all their phones so people can switch to QNX once it came out at the very least. 1.2ghz dual core phones would of STILL rocked by september but unfortunately by then they're gonna be outdated.

Baumj2 says:

Dont other people have to have BlackBerries to use BBM LOL?
I don't know anyone that hasnt switched yet...

diego says:

I am iphone user, but i ask what about roaming for use the messenger? And does the BBM work on edge? cause on iphone doesnt

Joseph egbule says:

not true, bbm has kept many bb users. It's easier to stay with a native app then use third party ones. There are millions of iphone users, for example all my bestfriends have iphones. Cross platform messengers don't work because people get tired of having to install the apps and registering and checking for friends on their.

Phil DeLong says:

You get thrills from getting messages from the opposite sex? Is it that infrequent that it happens?

Sebastian Acosta Canessa says:

When you guys send the photo did you check that both pictures have same size? i think Iphone could win it too there.
Great video thank you. You got a lot of fans in Ecuador :D

ayoo456#AC says:

Can you turn off imessage for individual people. Just cause they have an iPhone doesn't mean I want them to have the privilege of seeing if I read their message. Also can someone explain how message is different from the iPhones group SMS feature?

Gary Savell says:

I can see that the iPhone was on wifi, but was the blackberry. If not, that could have also played a role in the speed differences.

h.dambrosio1 says:

Idk I'm super stoked. The majority of texts I send are to iPhone users so for an in phone messenger service to be implemented....... That's an epic win for my phone bill each month.

Jay says:

I'm an iPhone 4 user but BBM still wins hands down and here's why. I could be wrong and if I am then I apologize in advance for my ignorance, but isn't a phone number required when using imessage for iphone to iphone messaging? BBM wins because among other things, a phone number isn't required. So for whatever reason you decide to give someone your pin, that's all they have in the end so they cant call your phone if you don't want em to. You control when you want to talk to them or you can just delete em and never hear from them again if you want.

Phil DeLong says:

So in other words, totally comparable to simply getting an actual phone number from the opposite sex on any other phone.

Tina Vane says:

lmfao well that is even lamer

Naraku Waa says:

Pff, BBM is push and also secure. iOS doesn't have true push on any app. This is one of the reason BIS, BES exist compared to 'just data' services for other platforms.
Besides Whatsapp filled that need for a BBM-like app just fine.

Faixan Amjad says:

We can not yet make a real comparison as a feature in beta is used by only few people thus Apple's servers have less data to manage.

Rosaestevao says:

there is no real comparison between blackberry and iphone the iphone is more than just a phone. It is the future blackberry has cornered the kids market iphone user is a of speed efficiency and cutting edge technology. Although the also love the ease of use of the device.

Owen Chase T says:

The thing is, BBM is on one platform only, blackberry. But iMessage is on all of their platforms.

Jessica Carino says:

SO who WON , was it a TIE ????

markpaulk says:

Liveprofile is better than iMessage & BBM - it has all the good BBM qualities, simplicity of iMessage and yet is cross-platform. Only things stopping LP from taking over are: 1) resources for servers 2) bring it onto the web (e.g. remove need for BB/iPhone/Android/Nokia) 3) advertising/word-of-mouth
RIM need to take LiveProfile's approach and open it up - then Apple will need to somehow re-invent iMessage and perhaps remix iChat so to speak (which I believe used to Facetime or something?)

R Oliveira says:

I know that thousand of ppl left Blackbery to use iPhone, but I don't know anybody that left iPhone to use Blackberry coz of a blood BBM.
Is like being gay, once you are, there is no regret!

Dylan Quayle says:

Cross-platform solution: AIM/Gmail/Yahoo

Jason Trenkler says:

Great little comparison, and yes thank you for switching to DISQUS

Charly G says:

If all your friends in the UK are iphone users,, why not use WhatsApp? just a thought anyway

Otaku83 says:

I still get email notifications instantly on my Torch vs. every 15 minutes on my 3GS... I even get my email notifications about 30 seconds to a minute faster than my email browser window shows them...

riley9dy says:

imessage was better DESPITE the fact that its still in beta.. thats pretty impressive

Deandre Pintar says:

I use FaceTime over 3G all the time, but only because I happen to carry a wifi hotspot device (aka an Android phone) with me for laptop tethering. Works great. Granted not a solution for many. Still, I hate the Rock store and all the silly extensions it adds to the phone underneath mobilesubstrate.

Cole Engelhardt says:

I'm experiencing a difficulty with your rss feed . Don't know why I am not able to subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting similar rss problem? Anyone who is aware of kindly respond. Thanks