It seems the days when negative publicity against rivals was seen as being in poor taste are over, at least in the smartphone space. The iPhone is being mocked from all sides by Apple's rivals these days.
Samsung's continually ribbing Apple for not having an folding phone, and Google is no stranger to having a dig either. In its latest, it reveals a fictional new Apple product that gives an Apple spin to a very retro device. Behold, the Apple iPager – definitely not one of the best Apple products.
We've seen Google mock Apple before. It began releasing adverts last year that compared the iPhone against its Pixel range. It followed up more recently with “Best Phones Forever” videos, a slightly cringey campaign featuring sitcom-like conversations between an anthropomorphised Pixel 7 Pro and and iPhone Pro.
But it's also been focusing specifically on Apple's obstinate refusal to adopt the Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging protocol, which Google began to deploy back in 2019. RCS is intended as an industry-wide standard to replace SMS. It provides phonebook polling, end-to-end encryption, read receipts and can transmit high-res multimedia.
But since Apple's chosen not to support it, sticking to its own iMessages instead, it turns messages sent from the iPhone into SMS and MMS when sent to Android devices. And there's a theory that it's intentionally tapping into peer pressure among teens by indicating messages sent to Android devices with a green bubble instead of a blue bubble in iMessages.
In the fight back, the latest installment in Google's “Get The Message” campaign is a joke advert for a fictional iPager. Presented in the cheesy style of an Apple product reveal, the details are on the mark, from the teasing low-key product imagery at the start of the ad to the font.
“iPager isn’t real, but the problems that Apple causes by using SMS are,” Google says in the caption on YouTube. “Let’s make texting better for everyone and help Apple #GetTheMessage and upgrade to RCS.” On the webpage for its campaign, Google says "Blurry videos, broken group chats, lack of encryption and more. Texting between iPhones and Android phones feels like using tech from another era, because it is – Apple refuses to adopt modern texting standards. But it's 2023, and texting shouldn't feel like using a pager."
It has a stronger point than Samsung's cringey Apple baiting. But no matter how embarrassing the jibes get for Apple, I'm don't expect it will be hugely receptive.
We know the Cupertino giant doesn't like being pushed into adopting industry-wide standards, even ones that would significantly improve the user experience, since it's very fond of locking customers into its own ecosystem of products. It only brought USB-C to the iPhone 15 because it was forced to do so by new legislation in the European Union.