Apple introduced a new messaging service for iOS device users called iMessage with iOS 5. The service allows users to send unlimited text, video and photo messages over WiFi or 3G. iMessage was clearly seen as an attempt to compete with BlackBerry’s popular BBM app.
Now, according to a new report published by BGR it has been revealed that Apple may actually be planning to extend its offering on the iOS platform with the introduction of a native IM client that could integrate Apple’s existing services and offer users an all-in-one experience.
John Heaton, iOS developer, recently revealed that he had discovered a string of iOS code that suggests Apple’s interest in bringing iChat to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch as a part of iOS 6, the next major version of iOS.
iChat currently available on Mac OS X allows users to send IM using various messaging clients such as Google Talk, AIM, Yahoo! and more. On the Mac iChat not only allows you to send instant messages but also supports video chats.
On iOS Apple integrated iMessage with the default Messages app to offer a unified experience however, FaceTime continues to be a separate app for video calls on iPad and iPod touch. It’s possible that the Cupertino, California-based company could be looking at introducing iChat that could merge all services in one app and could also allow messaging between Macs and iOS devices.
The existence of references to iChat in iOS code certainly points to the fact that Apple is at least testing or thought about introducing iChat. It will be interesting to see if iOS 6 actually introduces iChat for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.