Chapter 6. Texting & Messages

The term “iPhone” has never seemed especially appropriate for a gadget with so much power and flexibility. Statistics show, in fact, that making phone calls is one of the iPhone’s least-used functions! In fact, 57 percent of us never use the iPhone to make phone calls at all.

But texting—now we’re talking. Texting is the single most used function of the modern cellphone. In the U.S., we send 6 billion texts a day; half of Americans send at least 50 texts a day. Worldwide, we send 8.3 trillion texts a year. That’s a lot of “how r u”s and “LOL”s.

Apple—wary of losing customers to creative messaging apps like WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Facebook Messenger—is trying to compete with its Messages app. Its special effects and cool interactions match most offerings of rival apps—and, thanks to a Messages app store, even surpass them. Text-message conversations no longer look like a tidy screenplay. Now they can be overrun with graphics, cartoons, animations, and typographic fun.

In iOS 10, all that gadgetry made Messages feel cluttered. The big news in iOS 11 is that Apple has cleaned this up, and made Messages cleaner without losing its expandability.

Text Messages and iMessages

So why is texting so crazy popular? For reasons like these:

  • Like a phone call, a text message is immediate. You get the message off your chest right now.

  • And yet, as with email, the recipient doesn’t have to answer immediately. The message waits for him even when his phone is turned ...

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