Think about it. There’s Safari, Chrome, and Firefox browsers. Mail, Airmail, Spark and other email apps. There’s Calendar and Fantastical. There’s Photos, Photoshop, Affinity Photo, Pixelmator, and others. Plus, Apple’s own Numbers, Pages, and Keynote compete with Microsoft’s Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.
What did I miss?
Oh, yeah. Messaging applications. Apple’s own Messages (I’m not sure what iMessages is anymore) works across Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch. But 2-billion people use Facebook and that makes Messenger wildly popular, too. Get it? We use multiple text messaging apps. WhatsApp claims one billion daily users, 1.3-billion active monthly users, and more than 60 languages. 55-billion messages get sent each, along with 4.5-billion photos shared.
See? Messaging apps are everywhere and I’m not even sure exactly what to call them, though at a basic level they have similar functions. Text, voice, video. Are the social messaging apps? Text messaging apps? Instant messaging apps? While standard cell phone SMS text messaging seems to be ubiquitous, it’s also the least secure, and has the least number of features.
That means all the messaging apps pile on the features and functions to capture more eyeballs and fingers, but I’m not sure why? Where’s the beef? Is there a business model for Line, WhatsApp, WeChat, Telegram, SnapChat, Viber? Messenger, Skype, BBM, Kakaotalk, Signal, and Wire? How do they make any money?
Most of these messenger messaging message apps are in a hurry to add features, including end-to-end encryption, file and photo sharing, plus voice and video. I’ve tried every one of the top dozen mobile messaging apps according to Statista, and I can’t say there is one I prefer– except Apple’s own Messages (partly because of convenience and an iPhone family).
Here’s Statista’s list, which, oddly enough, does not include Messages, but Apple has over 1-billion iOS users and Messages must be doing better than all but the top four or five.
- WhatsApp – 1-billion
- Facebook Messgener – 1-billion
- QQ Mobile – 877-million (who?)
- WeChat – 846-million
- Skype – 300-million (why did Microsoft buy this?)
- Snapchat – 300-million (fastest growing)
- Viber – 249-million
- LINE – 217-million (heavy use in Asia)
- BlackBerry Messenger – 100-million (that many?)
- Telegram – 100-million (ultra secure)
- Kakaotalk – 49-million (cute, good Watch support)
Where is Apple’s Messages?
Alright, we can quibble with the numbers and rankings, but we cannot quibble with the growing number of text messaging, messaging, social messaging, and whatever messaging apps are available these days. Look at this list. It’s huge. And growing. That tells me a few things about humanity. First, we can’t agree on how we’re going to connect with friends, relatives, and co-workers, hence a gazillion ways to do it. Second, if there is a business model to support them all, I don’t know what it is. Some are add ons like Messages, Messenger, etc. Others are open source and have an extensive development community, and others have fallen by the wayside and no longer used or under development.
I use Facebook but I hate Facebook so I have Messenger but don’t like using it. But note that many friends, family members, and even co-workers think Facebook is the internet, and that’s all they use. For now, I’ll stick with Apple’s Messages app because it goes everywhere thanks to SMS text messaging, and Messenger, and Skype, and WhatsApp, and because it works so fast and so well on Apple Watch (it has a built-in complication) Kakaotalk between my wife and I. I could add a dozen or two dozen more, but why? My iPhone already has enough notifications.