Getting the iMessage

The Messages app lets you exchange short text messages with any cell phone that supports the SMS protocol. You can also send and receive MMS messages, which means you can exchange pictures, contacts, videos, ringtones, other audio recordings, and locations with any cell phone that supports the MMS protocol.

technicalstuff_4c.eps SMS is the acronym for the Short Message Service protocol; MMS is the acronym for the Multimedia Messaging Service protocol. Most phones sold today support one or both protocols. MMS support has been built into iOS since version 3 and is available on the iPhone 3G and later.

In addition to the traditional SMS and MMS protocols offered by the wireless carriers (currently AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint in the United States), iOS 5 introduced a new service from Apple called iMessage, which lets you send and receive unlimited messages with text, pictures, contacts, videos, and locations. The good news is that although the wireless operators all charge something for SMS or MMS services, iMessages are free. The bad news is that you can share iMessages only with other iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users whose devices are running iOS 5 or higher or Mac users running OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. And, if no Wi-Fi connection is available, the message is sent as a standard MMS or SMS (Multimedia or Short Message) via your wireless carrier (and subject to the usual text message ...

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