Messages for OS X is pretty cool indeed!
In the recent Mountain Lion preview announcement, we are starting to see quite a bit of convergence of iOS apps being introduced into
Mac OS X. There’s a whole lot of iCloud enhanced apps like Calendar, Reminder, Notes, etc.
Basically, if you are familiar with the iPad, there’s nothing really new here, except that it’s going to be available soon! But there’s also a gem that was released on the same announcement, and that’s the Messages app which is available now as a beta app.
Why is this cool? Well, a native messaging app that works across all iOS devices and OS X devices. Tell me that’s not exciting!
Some may argue that this is nothing new at all. There’s already a whole slew of Internet Messaging apps like Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Chat, ICQ etc, as well as a whole bunch of multi-IM chat clients like BeeJive, IM+, eBuddy Pro Messenger, Trillian etc. I myself has been using IM+ for the past few years and while there’s nothing really wrong with this, it’s just a very different experience with iMessage.
With Messages app on OS X, Mac users can now also join in the conversation! If you are familiar with RIM’s BBM service for all BlackBerry smartphones, you would be able to appreciate what iMessage is to iOS users. While being able to send unlimited messages for free is nice (obviously), I don’t think that’s the coolest feature of Messages.
Firstly, it just works! No setup other than logging into the service with you Apple ID.
And here’s the best part about Messages; seamless multi-device chatting experience! It’s really quite awesome to be able to start a conversation on the iPhone’s native messaging app, then continue it on my MacBook Pro once I reach work, then continue the same conversation on my iPhone during lunch, and later continue chatting on my iPad while in a cab going back home. All the chat messages are sync and available across all the devices, so there’s no loss context switching around the devices. That’s what’s so great about the iMessage service.
The Messages app looks and works pretty much like the Messages app on the iPad. It relies on the contact information that’s available on your Address Book and if the contact is also an iMessage user, you would see the blue chat icon by his or her contact details. Just like the iPad. So in terms of usability, it’s the same as how it is on the iPad.
But it’s beta you say? Well, I’ve been using it for a while now. It’s not perfect yet, perhaps even not complete (no way to edit, delete, forward messages). My verdict, download it and use it anyway. It won’t crash your Mac. I’m starting to think that Apple defines beta apps as apps that’s not feature complete. LOL!
Bonus tip: If you’re using OS X Lion, here’s how you can use Emoji on Messages. 😀
So, go ahead and download Messages app for your Mac now. There’s really no reason not to.