iMessage

Another of the really nice features that Apple brought to the iOS 5 release was iMessage.  iMessage is a native ability to text freely between other iOS 5 devices.  This means that if I am on my wifi network at home and want to text my friend who also has an iPhone running iOS 5, we can now do this for free without using our cell carrier.  However if we are not on wifi it still works, it just uses the cell data network.  This functionality does not impact regular texting, so if you are on your iPhone and text someone without an iOS 5 device, it will still text normally just as it did before.

But other than the iPhone, what else is this a benefit for?  The iPod Touch and iPad of course.  Devices that were just wifi based, now have access to the native Message app.  They can text other iOS 5 devices over a wireless network, just as easily as you could on the iPhone.

The other impact this has, is you no longer have to buy or pay for third party apps that allow texting over wireless networks.  You may still use these in the cases of wanting to text someone who doesn’t have an iOS 5 devices, especially if you want to let them know what they are missing out on.

So how can you tell if you are using iMessage vs using regular text messaging?  Apple has made this very easy to tell within its app.  When you text someone if your works appear in a blue window, you are using iMessage.  If they appear in a green window, you are using regular text messages.

So while this functionality is great, it does separate iOS 5 users from everyone else, in the way that we can only use this ability with other iOS 5 devices.  Even iPhones or iPads that have not been upgraded have this ability.  And if you are using a wireless only device, such as an iPad, you can only text your friends who have iOS 5 devices.  I would definitely say that even with those couple of limitations, this is a huge step in the right direction for mobile devices.  And I can say I am loving this functionality as most of the people I text have iOS 5 devices, which saves a lot of green on my pocket book.