iMessage Poised to Become the Best Mobile Group Chat Client We’ve Seen [iOS 5]

iMessage Poised to Become the Best Mobile Group Chat Client We’ve Seen [iOS 5]

We’ve been raving about Apple’s new iMessage feature in iOS 5 all week. If our current findings haven’t piqued your interest in the new messaging service that let’s you ditch SMS messaging, then maybe this little tidbit will intrigue you. With iMessage, Apple is also introducing the best mobile group chat client to ever hit a smartphone.

Sure, there are other options out there for mobile group chat, but wrangling all of your friends onto one client is unnerving and they’ll probably just uninstall the app in two weeks without telling you. With iMessage, Apple took all of that pain away. If you want to start a group chat with friends who have an iOS 5 device it works the same way as sending a group SMS text. Select who you want to receive the message, write your message, and then send it off. But here is where iMessage excels (yet again) over SMS: once someone in the group has received and replied to your iMessage, their reply is viewed by everyone else that your original message was sent to (unlike SMS where only you receive their reply). People’s names are labeled above their replies. This allows everyone to view everyone’s replies at the same time and then chat about what everyone else has said. Exactly the same way a group chat work.

Acting as a sort of group chat, iMessage makes it ridiculously easy to keep in touch with your group of friends all at once no matter where you are. If your five friends can’t decide what movie to go see tonight, you no longer have to deal with calling or texting them individually and trying to coordinate communication in some haphazard fragmented manner. The ability to instantly get in contact with everyone at the same time is a godsend for people that find themselves struggling to manage communication channels with all friends at once.

We’ve been playing around with the new feature here at Cult of Mac the last few days and it’s great. It’s become our favorite way of making fun of John Brownlee without him knowing it….but don’t tell him that.

  • scottbuscemi

    This has been a part of iOS 4’s SMS chatting group feature for a year now. It has always shown everyone’s names. 

  • joe l

    “piqued” your interest

  • Wes

    idk what you’re talking about but my group SMS’ never show who replies in a group text, and for some reason the text always goes to the individual text that I have with the person, very rarely to the group chat.

  • Seth

    awesome, this whole iMessage thing leads me to believe that Sprint and/or T-mobile will be getting the iPhone in the fall

  • scottbuscemi

    in iOS?

  • Chris Wong

    Lol’d at the testicles autocorrect. This might be off-topic but is it just me or everyone is having really weird autocorrects on iOS 5? They even autocorrect for me when i typed a common words like “if” and “i” :/

  • Táyò Salako

    yea same here…

  • Jayar

    Yeah, I am having terrible auto correct.

  • Andrie

    the other guys has to set their settings to allow group messages as well.  This has always been the case for iOS4.  Been using this feature for a while.

  • Andrie

    Settings>Messages>Group Messaging On

  • CharliK

    Not sure how you are making that leap. 

  • Manny

    I came here to say the same thing.  I’ve been using this feature for a while now with all my iPhone friends. Works exactly as this post describes.  Definitely nothing new here.

  • Benny

    iMessage me at: (sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)=)

  • fernando

    lol autocorrect 

  • Gheedsgreed

    For iPhone to iPhone group chats, there are still better alternatives like Voxer or Heytell that do text/photo/audio. This isn’t impressive in the least. And we’ll still be using other IM apps to reach people on multiple IM clients. And then there’s also Google Voice which replaced SMS for me a long time ago.

  • Greg Braddock

    i see everyone else has already noticed that this is not an iOS 5 (iMessages) exclusive feature. But I wanted to throw my 2 cents in too! 

  • jayoen

    Native > Any apps.

  • Gheedsgreed

    Correction: Native apps are more stable than third party apps. They are not necessarily more functional. examples include the native weather, notes, messages, camera, and safari.

  • jayoen

    True, but native apps are also more deeply integrated into the OS which in some cases may give them an edge.

  • Gheedsgreed

    Agreed, native apps work together like mail and contacts and calendar. They are also more stable like I said. iMessage, however, is still a very limited app, even if it is more integrated and stable. Of course, I am sure it will still be popular and widely used.

  • jayoen

    Oh yeah definitely. Also I won’t have to go around telling all my friends to get WhatsApp, for example, which would be nice. 

  • jewN

    what iOS 4 do you own and where did you get it?

  • Dmrswitch

    I can’t speak for iOS, but SMS on BlackBerry has had this exact functionality for a while… 

  • Greg

    i think it would be awesome if they assigned a random color for each person in the chat. keeping the text you sent as green tho. this way you always know its yours and you dont have to worry about reading the name as much if your trying to read it fast

  • Pawn

    Or you can use GroupMe which has the same functionality and more…
    Although I will say the only thing that made me look for GroupMe was moving from a BlackBerry to Android. BBM is still supreme.

  • mryanaz

    Sadly, GroupMe is doomed to failure as are the other web-based services. Smashtalk is the answer. Read why. http://mryanblog.blogspot.com/

  • Fax88

    Didnt Connctd app have this exact group feature 3 years ago on all platforms?

  • joedimon

    iMessage is great for IM, but for group chatting and sharing, it is pretty much a failure. Try http://www.grouptime.com …a new app for group messaging with family and friends with some cool features.

About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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