Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association. We believe the RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS. This will work alongside iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users.
It probably does not matter so much in WhatsApp land, but supporting RCS and not only SMS in iMessage is a welcome change. “Later next year” sounds like “after iOS 18 ships” but maybe Apple can make this happen earlier.
Operating on standards is preferable to providing Apple software on other platforms (“iMessage for Android”). You only have to look at the sorry state of Apple Music on Windows to see how hard Apple can fail. You can no longer access it on iTunes, and the only other options are previews of a website and an application they can’t seem to get to release status.