Could Twitter become the iPhone’s BBM?

Could Twitter become the iPhone's BBM?

BBM is one of the most compelling aspects of the BlackBerry experience — could Apple be set to bring their own instant messaging service to iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad… via Twitter? MG Siegler said yesterday that Apple was going to be including Twitter image posting in iOS 5 and John Gruber added that the integration could be much broader, and at the system level. Then Siegler fired back:

While Anil Dash wonders if Apple could make their own Twitter, I just think it would be great if Apple would create (or buy) any type of messaging services that bypasses SMS. It’s such a colossal rip off. And out of date. And it continues to empower the carriers.

There’s a reason why BBM took off. Apple could make it work device-to-device as well. I’m thinking we need a FaceTime without the “Face”.

The big problem with BBM is that, so far, it’s locked to the BlackBerry platform. Twitter is cross platform. Sure, it’s still proprietary, like Whatsapp, Kik, and other BBM alternatives, but the user base is huge. Dieter and I spoke about this, and there are still a lot of questions, of course. Twitter has had problems with scaling and being the BBM of iOS would be a lot of scale. Could Apple’s Data Center help with that? Also, Twitter doesn’t currently have group messages. Would they need them? Would partnering with Apple help Twitter bring those features to market faster? Would it then roll out across other platforms, paving the way for a real, universal communications protocol?

So yeah, there are a lot of questions, but as Siegler points out, Twitter is free, while SMS isn’t. That makes for a rather elegant end run around carriers and their obscene SMS prices.

Apple has relied on Google for Maps, YouTube, and search in the past. Could they rely on Twitter for text communications in the future? Would you want them to?


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