Will iMessage soon be integrated into OS X Lion's iChat?

iMessage is one of the great new features of the upcoming iOS 5 update and now there is evidence that it may soon be integrated with OS X Lion’s iChat instant messaging software. This would enable instant messaging between iOS devices and Mac computers running OS X Lion.

iMessage is an iOS 5 messaging application which includes sending messages, photos and videos over WiFi or 3G. Messages can be pushed across all iOS devices that use the same account. You can even pick up on the conversation right where you left off when switching from your iPhone to your iPad or iPod touch.

MacRumors received some information today that reveals some new code has been added to OS X Lion’s iChat framework that points to integration with the iChat app and iMessage.

The "timeDelivered" and "timeRead' fields indicate the tracking of delivery and read receipts for instant messages. These features, however, are not supported in any of iChat's native messaging protocols, while the same features are offered in Apple's iMessage protocol. These properties were also not present in previous versions of iChat prior to OS X Lion. We believe the only reason Apple would have added these properties was to build in cross compatibility with their new iMessage protocol.

This does make a lot of sense and is something that has been strongly rumored earlier in the year too. I think it is only a matter of time before this all comes together and I would not be surprised if it was announced along with the official launch of  iOS 5.



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UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

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Reader comments

Will iMessage soon be integrated into OS X Lion's iChat?


If you are only chatting it wont affect your data much as messages are tiny. It will only chew up data if you are sending video files, etc.

I really hope and think that imessage will come to Mac. I doubt it will be on the same day ios5 cones out but, hopefully, not long after.

Considering I already use a handful of different methods to text friends' phones from my computer (most of which have or want an iPhone), this would great for me. In fact, I've been hoping that Apple would implement this in OS X since the day that they announced it. I'm also very encouraged to hear that it might be built-in to iChat, instead of being a separate app like FaceTime (c'mon, Apple... you could have just built that into iChat as well).
As for anyone saying that they should wait... Why? There is no need to wait for any sort of "critical mass". There are already millions of iOS devices out in the wild, and this should also work from Mac to Mac. The install-base is already there. Now just let us use the service already! =)

Can't wait! I've been on beta iOS 5 since beta 2 and I feel like I can't be without iMessage any more... integrating it with MacBooks would make it that much more convenient (especially when you are not with your phone as often)

Why not log into msn or any other IM. What's sp goof about bbm, imessage? They seem to attempt to solve a problem that was solved a decade ago

iMessage, FaceTime, and iChat should all merge into one app. Isn't apple all about getting rid of duplicate functionality?!