November 28, 2012

iMessage still stinks

For the last 13 months I have been an iPhone owner. Not coincidentally, over those 13 months I have travelled more than I ever have before in my life. The iPhone has been an invaluable tool for staying connected and finding my way around. However, there has been one thing I would consider as a downgrade over the feature phone that I used to carry... text messaging.

I am not the type of person that sends thousands (or even hundreds) of text messages every month. My 500 txt messages a month plan was serving me fine. I recognize that the iMessage protocol is great for sending messages between iPhone users without deducting from your plan. But messaging between iPhones has consistently given me trouble.

There were several examples where I would send an iMessage and assume it was received. Later in the day I would be hanging out with the recipient and suddenly their phone would light up. Oh look! A text message from me just arrived. Hours after it looked like it was successfully sent on my side. Even more confusing, it looks to them like I have just sent it. I hate the text reply of "ok", but it is almost required with iMessage these days. If you don't hear anything back, you have to assume your message didn't get where it was supposed to go.

Most of the times it failed me were trivial situations. I'm having a hard time thinking of a scenario when texting isn't trivial. However, when you hit the send button and everything seems to go normally, there is an expectation that the message was sent to the recipient. I don't know if it is the fault of Apple or AT&T, but the iMessages seem to float around in the ether for a while before they reach their destination.

I have tried to get away from using Apple's messaging platform as much as possible, but iMessages is so dang convenient. If I send my wife a message and she doesn't respond within a few minutes I feel like I need to send another message to make sure she got it, and that isn't cool, but I don't have a problem with doing it. However, if I send something to a coworker and don't hear back it isn't as appropriate to send a follow up message just to see if they got it.

I hope iMessage gets better. There is no way I am going to stop using it.

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