Digging through the bowels of iOS 5.0.1, developer John Heaton found something neat: some code strings that strongly hint iChat functionality will be coming to iOS sometime more or less relativistically soon.
In the code seen above, various chat services like Jabber and AIM seem to have deep hooks in iOS 5. That implies Apple was at least testing iChat functionality in their mobile OS, even if they didn’t actually call it that.
Of course, iMessage is already sort of like iChat, just for people with iOS devices. It wouldn’t surprise me if eventually Apple tied iChat into iMessage on both the smartphone, tablet and desktop, allowing any Apple device user to contact any other Apple user instantly no matter where they are. How long it will take them to actualize that vision is another story, though.