Messaging between Android and iPhone is about to get better... kind of.

Plus thoughts on Rivian's latest update troubles, and links to my work this week

Messaging between Android and iPhone is about to get better... kind of.
I took this pic in 2019, when Google was rolling out RCS for Android. The overall theme still applies.

Apple on Thursday told TechRadar that it’s ready to integrate RCS messaging into iOS (presumably iPadOS and MacOS, too?). The announcement comes after nearly a year of Google publicly ridiculing and even taunting Apple into adopting the standard. (Did you see the iPager commercial? It’s funny.)

The update is expected “later next year,” which I’m going to presume means with the launch of iOS 18 - so September of 2024.

RCS stands for Rich Communication Services and over the last few years has been built into Google’s Messages app, giving Android users the ability to share high-resolution photos and videos, exchange messages over Wi-Fi, improved group messaging and, at least in Google’s implementation of RCS, end-to-end-encryption (E2EE).

RCS on iPhone will include support for group messaging, group messaging, high-resolution images and video, read receipts, and location sharing.

This is great news for iPhone and Android users alike, as RCS is a big improvement over standard SMS/MMS messaging, but it’s not the same as Apple releasing iMessage for Android. The company has already confirmed that RCS messages will still show up as green bubbles (sorry, fam), and features like stickers and deleting or editing messages will stay exclusive to iMessage.

Also, Apple told TechRadar it’s going to use the standard RCS profile, which currently lacks E2EE, and will leave it up to the carriers to adopt the profile (which shouldn’t be an issue). Apple also said it plans on working with the GMS Association to add E2EE to the standard.

I have a million questions about RCS messaging on iPhone. Why not use Google’s RCS profile and its E2EE? How will messaging with Google’s version of RCS work? Can Android users use the Messages app? Does this mean that Android users will be welcomed into group messages, or at least make it easier?

Those questions will surely go unanswered by Apple until we see the company preview iOS 18 at WWDC in June.

The update made all of the above controls unavailable. Crazy.

Rivian’s latest software update troubles

Rivian releases a software update for its R1T and R1S vehicles once a month. Typically, the update is pushed to beta testers and employees shortly after the first of the month. After a couple of weeks of testing, the update is then pushed out to the wider fleet, slowly, to ensure no issues snuck by QA testing.

Rivian’s November update, 2023.42, promised to fix some issues many Rivian owners (my wife included) encounter with its proximity locking and unlocking feature.

On Nov. 13, Rivian started to release the update, and almost immediately, there were reports that after the installation failed at around 90%, the car would reboot and the infotainment system was more or less blank. The infotainment system was bricked.

Resetting or rebooting the car didn’t fix it. There was a certificate issue with the build they pushed out to the fleet. You can still drive the car, and all of the controls for features like climate control and lock/unlock work in the mobile app, but you can’t control the car using the screens

Originally, Rivian cautioned impacted owners that a fix may require physical access to their vehicle (it was unclear if mobile service would have been an option). However, by Wednesday night, Rivian announced it had an OTA update that fixed the issue ready, and it had started to push it to those who installed the original update. Indeed, the new update unbricked the infotainment system.

As modern-day cars continue to transition into a computer on wheels, stuff like this just can’t happen, but I have to applaud Rivian’s handling of the situation. The company was transparent and provided consistent updates about what it was doing and when to expect another update. I really hope Rivian publishes a post-mortem about what happened, why it happened, and how the company plans to avoid it happening again.

What I had published this week:

Opal Tadpole hands-on: An adorable webcam designed specifically for your laptop - as the title says, this small webcam is adorable. And very portable.

Nothing Chats will support iMessage on Android, but there's a massive catch - Before Apple announced plans to support RCS, phone maker Nothing announced Nothing Chats, an app that brings iMessage to Android through a third-party server. If you have a Nothing Phone 2, you can use the app. However, you probably shouldn’t.. I explain why

The Eero Max 7 mesh Wi-Fi system is bigger, better, faster — and more expensive - I couldn’t imagine spending this much on a home Wi-Fi system, but I have to admit, it’s one heck of an impressive mesh wifi setup. If you have money to spend and need a new Wi-Fi system, this is as good as it gets.

Fitbit Charge 6 review: A fitness tracker with smartwatch DNA - Every time I review a Fitbit fitness tracker, it makes me question why I even bother with a smartwatch.. the Charge 6, however, brings the best of both worlds to your wrist.

Where to find me on the socials

As much as I‘d love to walk away from all social networks, I’ve realized they’re a necessary evil over the last few weeks. The general rule of thumb is I’m usually @MrCippy on all the things, but to make your life easier, here are direct links to where you can follow me:

Other tidbits and looking ahead

I’m not going to bombard you with Black Friday and Cyber Monday links. There are plenty of guides and posts being shoved at us all over the internet to buy the latest deal before it’s no longer a deal.

It’s tiring.

So, instead, here’s a picture of my dog. His name’s Emoji.

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