Home Home Tech WWDC 2016: No iMessage for Android, no new Macs or hardware

Two rumours that didn’t come through at WWDC 2016 involved iMessage for Android and rumoured new MacBook Pros with OLED strips replacing the F-keys.

A curious rumour emerged before WWDC 2016 this year, and that was about iMessage for Android.

There was another rumour about new MacBook Pro models but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Just as Apple has Apple Music for Android, so too did some think that Apple was going to launch an iMessage client for Android smartphones.

One of the big problems with this rumour was that iMessage is an iOS exclusive, and a great way for Apple to encourage its users to stick with the platform.

Of course, there are many more reasons besides iMessage to stick with iOS, but I’ve read some blogs where people were trying to suggest that it’s the only reason.

Thus, if Apple really did release iMessage for Android, that could easily convince at least some users to go with Android the next time they decided to get a new smartphone, and this didn’t sound like a particularly smart move.

After all, there are already plenty of cross-platform messaging apps out there, from Skype, to WeChat and WhatsApp.

There’s even good old SMS, but iMessage is a great Apple exclusive, made better still by the coming iOS 10 version of iMessage which will include a whole host of new capabilities, as seen at Apple’s iOS 10 preview page here

Naturally, Apple is Apple and such a move could still be on the cards. If so, it would probably be during WWDC 2017.

That’s because Apple is unlikely to promote anything for Android during the launch of its expected iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models this year.

Why would Apple want to let users know they could buy an Android and use iMessage on that when Apple wants to sell as many iPhones as it can, now or anytime in the future?

Yes, Apple has Apple Music for Android as already mentioned. Music is one thing, though and messaging is another, so chalk this one up to Apple misinformation campaigns to potentially test the trustworthiness of people with whom it shares information.

Let a juicy bit of disinformation like iMessage for Android slip to someone and see how quickly it gets into the public domain.

If it does, whoever you told can’t be trusted! So perhaps it was that. Or who knows. With Apple it is hard to say, for the company works in mysterious ways and wisely marches to the beat of its own drum.

All that being said, if you’re an Android smartphone user who also happens to use a Mac, and you’re desperate to have access to iMessage on your Android, there is a Google Play app that can do it, for a price. It’s a bit fiddly, but apparently it works (without letting you send and receive media). Full details here at Android SMS sync for Apple Messages

More below, please read on. 

Then there was the rumour of a new MacBook Pro. The biggest change with this MacBook was a purported OLED touch-sensitive, haptic strip which would have replaced the F-keys.

I’ve seen more primitive strips on Windows laptops over the years and they’ve generally always sucked, but one thing’s for certain – they weren’t OLED strips and they provided no haptic feedback.

If Apple were to release such a modification to its keyboard, it would likely work very smoothly, but the biggest question is why?

Why would you want to replace perfectly good keys with a strip that might be difficult to use in low-light environments (despite backlit keys) and would change the muscle memory for hundreds of millions?

Such a move, based on what we know today, doesn’t seem to make much sense, but not everything Apple does always makes sense, or at least, at first.

Perhaps such a MacBook keyboard change is indeed coming later this year with a new MacBook Pro. Or perhaps it is not.

Again, rumours are just that – rumours. Unless and until Apple announces it on stage, or in a press release, it didn’t happen and hasn’t happened yet.

So with WWDC firmly focused on developers, software and new operating systems for Apple’s existing range of hardware devices, developers certainly have their hands full as it is.

You’ll find my WWDC 2016 report here


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.


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