Apple iMessage versus BlackBerry Messenger

Will Apple be able to steal BBM's thunder?

As an iOS 5 launch looms iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch users can look forward to over 200 features including Apple's first instant messaging service, iMessage. At a time when RIM IS suffering from service issues with BBM, the arrival of iMessage could not be better timed. How does Apple iMessage shape up against BBM? We take a look....

Along with the score of other new features to be found under the hood of iOS 5, iMessage could be the pick of the bunch. Set to rival BlackBerry Messenger or BBM as it is best known we take a look at what we know so far about the instant messaging service, and see how it shapes up against the mighty BBM.

Apple iMessage

Apple first foray in to the world of instant messaging sees unlimited BBM-style chat across the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch running on iOS 5. It runs as part the Messages app and supports sending text, photos, videos, locations and contacts over Wi-Fi and 3G. If you need to keep an eye on what messages you send, there’s the option for delivery receipts, but perhaps the best feature is being able to start a conversation on an iPad and finish it on your iPhone for instance. You can find out a little more about iMessage and the other top iOS 5 features in the video below.

Apple iOS 5 video: Things you need to know

BlackBerry Messenger

The renowned instant messaging service that allows BlackBerry users to communicate with each other without using up SMS allowances has undergone a bit of a change in its most recent update. Now each BlackBerry smartphone has it's own PIN which can then be entered in, or scanned in barcode form using a BlackBerry's camera. Essentially you will still be able to send instant messages, emoticons, texts to non-BBM users, but You’ll also be able to send pictures, videos and voice notes with a maximum support of up to 6MB.

BBM now comes integrated into a series of apps which includes FourSquare and Poynt which means you be able to invite friends to use your favourite apps, chat within BBM-integrated apps and show scores from your BBM-supporting games. You can check out the list of the BlackBerry apps compatible with the new BBM here on the BlackBerry App World. BBM Music is another notable new feature that lets you share 50 songs with fellow BBM users. Tracks are taken from a catalogue of music of which you can swap 25 of those tracks each month. You can build playlists from music that your BBM friends have selected and see what they are listening to at the time. You can watch official BlackBerry Messenger video below to get feel of the new-look messaging service.

BlackBerry Messenger video

Apple iMessage: What the experts say:

Luke Peters: Editor T3 Magazine
"
Features such as the Reading list, iMessage and iCloud are quite clearly right additions for Apple, but what about Instapaper, What's App Messenger and Dropbox?"

Peter Phelan: Independent
"
Will the teenagers currently besotted with BlackBerry Messenger be tempted to switch to iPhone with its similar iMessage service?"

Marc Chacksfield: Tech Radar
"
This is a massive hit to RIM, who prides itself on BBM for BlackBerry, and it is also puts the iPhone 4 in firm contention as a business phone."

Chris Gayomali: Time
"
In choosing to keep iMessage iOS-only, Apple is allowing third-party companies – like the wildly popular WhatsApp – to stay one step ahead by working across different platforms."

Will iMessage spell the end of BBM? Let us know what you think in the comments section below