Do you want BBM on your iPhone?

Every WWDC keynote we've joked that Mike Lazaridis from BlackBerry maker RIM would surprise everyone by joining Steve Jobs on stage to announce BlackBerry Connect and BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) for iPhone. Then we laugh and marvel out our new copy and paste, multitasking, or whatever Apple chooses to invent that year.

Our sibling site has put the whole BBM on iOS (and every other platform) issue right back on their front page, however, with Kevin asking the question:

So should RIM do it? Personally, I think they should. I get the reasons why they wouldn't. RIM makes money from selling smartphones, and right now BlackBerry Messenger is one of those hooks that keeps people on BlackBerry and actually attracts some people to BlackBerry (I've heard stories from carrier reps where individuals walk into the store and ask for the phone that does BBM). But I don't think this reasoning holds up long-term. As soon as a cross-platform BBM-style client emerges in the smartphone space and attains critical mass (ie. Kik or another), even if not as fully-featured as BlackBerry Messenger the hook of BBM starts to diminish. If it's inevitable that a cross-platform BBM alternative is going to emerge down the road, is it not better for RIM to be the ones who put it out? There are some iPhone owners out there who no matter what are never going to own a BlackBerry (Apple fanboys!), but I bet those same people would rock BlackBerry Messenger on their iPhone.

I agree with Kevin. Look at what licensing ActIveSync has done for Microsoft. I'd prefer to a non-proprietary protocol -- I like that I can switch from iPhone to Android, Windows to Mac, Outlook to and my email stays my email -- but I use Twitter and that's the same model BBM could take.

What do you think? Should BBM be available on iPhone? Head on over to's poll and let your vote be heard, then come back here and tell us why or why not.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Do you want BBM on your iPhone?


Making a universal texting delivery system thats not specific to its own would be nice. Kind of like eliminating the Deutsche Mark or Franc so all of Europe could have a unified currency called the Euro. Question is, would Apple and/or Steve Jobs allow such a system when Apple strides to be proprietary to itself.

What does BBM do that SMS doesn't besides group messaging? I've never cared yo own owned a BB so I don't know. And don't you need an added PIN just to make it work?

Everyone with iPhone and Blackberry just download WhatsApp. It's such a great App. Send videos, pictures, voice clips and instant messaging. I keep intouch with my UK friends with this while I'm away. It's brilliant.

This used to be something I really wanted, however I now appreciate the separation between my work phone (the BB) and my iPhone. I would only want it if you only had interaction between my iPhone and RIM's servers; I'd want no BES connectivity at all.

you can buy WHATSAPP its like 0.99 and it lets you connect between iPhone and BB like nuts! Just the way BBM does the job, believe me!
Plus, when you get it, at the very first open, it does not require creating an account neither requires to add contacts, it automatically adds your from your contact list the ones who already posses that app, includin BB, BB by the way it's free and for iphone it has to be bought for a very low price

Eh ya, I'd use it. BBM isn't really special itself, it would be nice however to still talk with all my friends that use BBM.

I don't understand why aim and msn messenger aren't used on smartphones. THEY ARE CROSS PLATFORM!

Yes, I would pay dearly for it (I already spending big money for apps like OmniFocus) this would be a no brainer, even if it required a 2 year commitment for said service.

It is all very well suggesting Ping or WhatsApp (or Kik as the Crackberry article suggested), but these simply lack the one factor: the Blackberry messaging system. Like others I far prefer the iPhone, but covet the Blackberry for its direct messaging. A look at some social networking sites tells me how popular this is particularly among the young. Business use is also a valuable factor: direct messaging, without the cost or the security risk. In the last US Presidential campaign, there was also frequent mention of Mr. Obama's Blackberry use, and the secure version he was given afterwards, despite also being given an iPhone.
RIM makes money from selling its phones, yet a subscription-based messaging service would still bring in income and perhaps open doors to other possibilities. Count me in if ever this happens.

KiK is muliplatform (bb, ios, android) & offers the same functionality off bbm & free unlike WhatsApp, there's also Hello! Messenger in the works.(so far iphone & non touchscreen bb's)

The reason I dont use Kik, PingChat! or WhatsApp is because this requires BlackBerry or Android users to install another "proprietary" service. Its no secret that there are more BBM users than iPhone/Android combined and that would really open up a communication layer to an already installed base. SMS is nice, but it requires that we have others phone numbers AND in many cases users must have unlimited texting plans or it gets costly.

I've used a BlackBerry Storm (oh dear God...), iPhone, and Android and looking to switch to WebOS 2.0 soon. I would never again use stupid messaging apps that don't provide absolute reliability. My gf and I used Ping, WhatsApp and IM apps when we both had iPhones, and they take forever to get messages across, if at all. Maybe we were in a bad reception area (damn AT&T), but I have a bad taste in my mouth that will never go away.
I don't think people will ever move away from Email and MMS. If you have an iPhone and your friend has BB or Android, just use email or Google Voice. Same goes for anyone on Verizon (most likely using Android) who doesn't have unlimited messaging like me, Google Voice is free on Android. Simple.
BB users just need to bite the bullet and get a new phone.

BBM is the one of the few highlights to the BB ecosystem. I personally would love to see BBM go cross-platform, because my whole family is currently hooked on it, but I will be abandoning RIM as soon as a certain phone hits Big Red in Jan.
I would even pay a one time fee to use BBM. But knowing RIM and their data packages, you would likely incur a monthly fee to use the service.

It's funny you can tell very easily here the people who had never had a blackberry . Kik whatsapp and all those other apps soth pain but nothing replaces BBM , it's just the best Handsdown ! One thing people need to understand is that you need to install those apps and get your friends to install them to , BBM is pre installed and is plug n play easy to set up

Look no farther. The latest version of Pingchat2 is super fast, has all the features of BBM plus group messaging and MMS.

Oh yeah! I would totally be down with that!!! I have tons of friends on BB & have been using Kik msgr. Only problem is you can't send pictures via Kik so BBM would be awesome!

Offering Blackberry Connect for iOS and Android would be a great strategic move - particularly by requiring a Blackberry Data Plan.... which then brings in Monthly Revenue for RIM.

While I love my iPhone 4 too much, I would love to use BBM on my iPhone as many of friends and clients are on blackberry.
So yeah bring it on.

Blackberry messenger is the truth. I carry an iPhone 4 and a blackberry storm. BBM is the best messenger service. Personally I don't think it should come to the iPhone RIM should keep it exclusive.

Does KIK actually act like BBM? it only seems to allow messages from one person to another. What about communicating with multiple people within the same group like BBM. Does KIK do that?

BBM's platform is simlly superior. I'd love to have it on my iPhone and ditch my Storm2 and not pay renewal on WhatsApp.
Hopefully it will be a reality someday soon.....

BBM is cool! It was the only thing I didn't want to give up when I got my iPhone but all of the BB's I had were junk junk junk!!! It would be awesome if there was a cross platform msgr or what about FaceTime too... not everyone is gonna like the same phones so making it easier to talk between them will make everyone happier...!!!

Yes. Only thing I liked about my BlackBerry. Well, the physical keyboard was nice, but I've learned to use touchscreens pretty quickly and their is no substitute for the Retina display.
Using GV for free SMS now, but miss the delivered / read / typing indicators of BBM.

When I had a Blackberry, I thought the greatest short coming of BBM was that it was limited to Blackberry users. I cannot see RIM offering BBM to other platforms as it is one of their selling points. What RIM should do is to partner with other 3rd party messaging so that Blackberry users can use BBM to communicate with ping or whatsapp users.
Anyway, it's good that there are alternatives to SMS as the price we pay for SMS service is next to nothing to the cell phone carriers cost.

hahahaha... funny, why people re-invent the wheel through ping or whatsapp. If u need cross-platform, then what is Yahoo/MSN messenger ????

guys guys, wake up... we god, whatsapp, pingchat, and other, we don't to have bbm, trust me.. with this, messengers, we could conect ours iPhones with android, some nokias, and blackberry..
just lets keep it that way.. beacuse i don't wanna pull my baterry every time my iphone froze up.. (ups we can and we don't need pull our baterry because iphone is way better product than blackberry by far..)

I'd like to see bbm cross platform. I workbwith a lot of people using blackberry who refuse to install PingChat. I use pingchat, but it doesn't have groups, and it's not a very convenient program.

Steve are you saying a lot people.? probably you are with a lot venezuelans because they are number one user of blackberry in latin america..
Because in AMERICA. 7 of 10 people that you see got iphone. just go to public places. i look what they got in their hand..
Just keep it iphone away from RIM.. they are in the stone age.. we don't need anything from them..
whatsapp is way better messenger and they are making a lot improvement any time they update the app.. i got 38 contact with BLACKBERRY, i the even say is better than BBM. if you don't have go ahead and try it, you don't need PIN numbers. or user name, just have your contact info, in your phone book. and if they have whatsapp they will appear in your favorites

This would have been fantastic a year ago but now everyone I know has an iPhone. We just use AT&t's built in group texts.

Yeah, just what I need - ANOTHER way for people to contact me, because the 35 other ways just aren't sufficient. Count me in the "no" category.

I would love a native, Apple-built BBM equivalent that could use some standard protocols (kinda like FaceTime does) in order for every platform to connect with each other. I know a lot of people with Android, WebOS, BBOS, and iOS. It would be perfect for everyone everywhere to have just one client that everyone could use.

I say yes. Do it already. Most importantly, revert the mute lock switch lock on my iPad back to an orientation lock you dumb Apple F**ks !!! What in the world was Apple thinking with that? We already had a mute Burton, my iPad is not an iPhone, the switch needs to be an orientation lock switch, not a damn mute switch!!

I want this BBM cross platform. Until then, I'll stick to yahoo.
Whats app,kik, ping just makes it all so cluttered (trying to get everyone on the same app)

To get the physical orientation lock key is my single most reason to jailbreak IPad. It's a deal breaker for me.

It already exists. It's called whatsapp.
Why does Tipb always seem to talk about KiK and not Whatsapp ? Whatsapp is much better.
So many of us use it to cross communicate between Bb/iPhone/android.

Iphonefan- I work part time in the fire service, where some are converting to iPhone, but most always had nextel then moved to blackberry. Personally I love my iPhone, but the public safety sector is slow to accept

dude you are being very childish. just thought id let you know that. blackberry sucks because it doesn have a front face camera, a high resolution screen, sucks at notifacations,is unreliable at syncing,a two hour battery life, there is no other os that handles multiple applications data and notifications as flawlessly and seamlessly as a blackberry, i have had them all, mabey the two iphone4s that i had were duds, just mabey.. also i actually like my email coming to my device instantaniously and not delayed two hours, because apple doesnt have a dedicated server for data notifacation management. yes i use POP 3 , and also imap accounts, blackberry treats all the same, however apple doenst so if you have pop3 like hotmail as thousands do u suck salt, I LOVE the IPHONE dont get me wrong, but it can use some improvements as well. stop brand bashing its pathetic.

i think your making these comments all over the place to frustrate people like me hahha, i mean seriously, dont only think of your self and america here, these devices were created to enhance the comunication experience. thousdands travel internationlly, for business or pleasure, have family, loved ones friends in other countries, international text message charges are criminal at best and the existing iphone apps for im are no where near as good as bbm, if that was the case people like me wouldn have two phones and RIM headquarters would be an abandoned building, u think bbm sucks, the statistics,and the world and focus point of these topics shows that it doesnt suck and is infact the best im ever created, the others are unstable and unreliable. again your comment about blackberry sucks is relative keep it to yourself. from a comunication standpoint the only thing the iphone can do that the blackberry cant is make video calls "face time " which also isn anything new, " give it a snazzy name and all of a sudden its the latest greatest. the n95 back in 2007 could make video calls over 3g. please... and after your face time, you gotta be running for the car charger. open your eyes bro. i am apple brand loyal but ya gotta salute where neccessary. simple.

Yes!!! Please do it! It will be a great feature for business! Good transition tool for blackberry users switching for iPhone!

I personally don't need BBM because I have unlimited text, but if messaging is what you want then apple should come up with their own more polished and better messenger exclusively for iOS owners.

There's already a cross-platform and standard messaging service, its called SMS. Use it!
I hate BBM, whatsapp, ping, and all that garbage. Its such a mission to get people to download them.

ya if u enjoy just giving away your $ to the phone companies. why do i want to be limited to just 160 characters (or less) depending on what language u write in. do u even realize how huge the markup is for SMS compared to what it actually costs to transmit the message? try 6000% according to NY times and cnet articles.
moreover, you're saying u would rather fork over even more $ and get charged the international fees to talk with ur overseas contacts? i think i'd rather pay $0.99 for whatsapp and call it a day than send 1 international SMS which would easily cost more than that.
get out from under the rock.

I use the iPhone because it's such a powerful yet fun device. However, I live in Asia where the business community relies heavily on BBM to communicate. I have to carry 2 phones around only not to be left behind the competition. But, If they do provide BBM service for iPhone RIM is going to sign their own death certificate.

BBM on IPhone is the only way to go. In this day and age we should tolerate no handcuffs or proprietary bs.

Who ever developes this could potentially make a sh*T load of money, but on the other hand, have RIM and/or Blackberry after them. However, an underground mod or app for the JB'd iPhone would be perfect! Open-source and unsigned.. you'll be in the clear but as the creator you're bound to be famous! There must be a solution to this madness.. and I won't except no for an anwser!
I've been anticipating and hoping for months to see BBM on the iphone, but still on the search! Can't believe it hasn't been made simple yet. I have more friends with blackberrys than iPhones and just want a simple app that allows the iPhone world to BBM.. thats it! .. even a mod to allow BBM's in the native messengers of iPhone would be amazing. There should also be a mod to save BB-Pins in Contacts and made seemless to BBM that contact.
Sure there's all those cross-platform apps, but how limited is that?.. is everyone with a Blackberry going to download another messenger? NO!.. Would a huge majority of people with JB'd iPhones download a mod or app to use and txt directly to the native Blackberry's messenger??.. YESS!!! least where I live. Blackberry's are hot in Canada.

Those who don't care bout BBM on iPhone are naive thus don't say that U wouldn't be happy when the Day comes.
WhatsApp is great but NO CHAT GROUP unfortunately.
PingChat! is great now after d latest bug fixes, but still NO ADDING NOR DELETING MEMBER(s) in an ongoing CHAT GROUP.
Note: of course still IM such as: Gtalk & YM are always useful handy.
***SO??? The GREATEST THING yet is to cross-platform BBM & iPhone e.q: "iBBM". That way I wouldn't need to own a BB Onyx II (9780) to be BBM-ing with most of my network. & I'm sure most of U in BB-dominant regions would also love that.
PS: Just hope that RIM would cut down a bit of their Ego for greater good, as We understand that BBM feature has definitely been the core selling point of Blackberry anywhere. Can U imagine what could happen eventually to RIM's business if it becomes iBBM instead?? Tough question Easy answer??!! or the other way around?! Peaceeeee

I'd give anything for BBM on anything. But will they do it? No. Should they do it? No. Why? BB fans are die-hard fans (albeit retarded - lets be honest BBs are slow) and don't like to use Whats App or similar. Why? Cuz BB is cool. And its a selling point you can't trump. Not now that so many people have BBs.

Ehhhh Yes please!!!!
Let me know when the app, crossplatform, or whatever is out there... My i4 has severe cravings for bbm..

I have both a BlackBerry and iPhone out of necessity (one for work and one for personal), and I like how fast and convenient BBM is. Bringing it to the iPhone would be cool, but I don't know whether BBM would have the critical mass to push out cross-platform apps such as WhatsApp or PingChat, especially if the BBM version offered is a chat-only program.
Without that critical mass, BBM would still be just a minor player in the iPhone/Android market, meaning uptake would be slower than anticipated. And if few people use it, there would be little incentive to get it in the first place.
I have my own editorial about this here:

I use to have a Blackberry - but then i switched to a IPhone ..but i loved BBM - it would be wonderful if we could have BBM APP on IPHONE so all Blackberry owners could chat with the iphone owners through the BBM app on their phone -

BB would go out of business if they do so. I doubt it'll happen as much as I would like to bbm from my iPhone