Apple’s iMessage protocol headed to iChat?

Following in the footsteps of Apple’s FaceTime video chat, Apple’s iMessage  could be the next feature to make the jump from iOS to Apple’sMac OS X.

MacRumors today points  to a code string within OS X Lion’s iChat software noting when messages are both  delivered and read, receipts that are currently available as part of its  upcoming iMessage service. The outlet notes that these particular code strings  haven’t appeared in previous versions of the iChat software, suggesting support  for the protocol will be there when iMessage officially launches this fall.

Apple introduced iMessage as part of its unveiling of iOS 5 at the Worldwide  Developers Conference in June. The new messaging service lets users on iOS  devices chat with one another like they would send a text message. However, the  service itself is not tied to any carriers and has been designed to work on  non-cellular devices like the Wi-Fi only version of theiPad, and current modeliPod Touch.

FaceTime, which is Apple’s video chat service, made a similar jump from iOS  to Mac OS X users last October. Apple first offered the software only to iPhone  4 users to chat with one another while on Wi-Fi networks. The company later  brought the software to Mac users as a free public beta, before selling it for 99 cents on the Mac App  Store and including it as a freebie on new machines.

That Apple could be including iMessage in iChat is of special note given  questions about the future of the desktop software. While iChat remains a  real-time chat solution, iMessage pulls double duty enabling both real-time and  asynchronous communication through the same protocol. Apple also broke out  iChat’s one-on-one video chat feature as its own app with FaceTime, which  strayed from depending on third-party protocols.

Apple is expected to launch iOS 5 alongside its next iPhone next month.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20106247-248/apples-imessage-protocol-headed-to-ichat/#ixzz1Y3rqUVVZ