After iMessage’s first year ended with the release of iOS 6, a new report has hit the web claiming that iMessage (and possibly other IM apps) is causing the first decline in US text messaging in years.
On Monday, mobile analyst Chetan Sharma published a report claiming that text messaging (SMS) was down for the first time in years in the third quarter of 2012. Sharma claims that the average number of text messages per user went down from 696 texts per month, to 678 texts per month.
iMessage initiates a text conversation over your data connection whenever you (presumably an iOS 5+ user) contact other iOS 5+ user in Messages. This seamless integration may have been the final straw that ended the continual increases in text messaging of the past few years. iMessage also offers convenient “Sent”, “Received”, and “Read” (optional) receipts, as well as typing indication, which text messages are not currently able to offer.
The decrease is small, but it may be marking the transition from growing numbers to shrinking numbers, and that could be very important. Carriers make a killing on domestic text messages, which cost them almost nothing (no really, very very close to nothing.) Sharma has also noted, however, that this doesn’t have to negatively impact the carriers, as their model has already been shifting to adopt higher revenues from data use than text messages.
Do you think iMessage’s streamlined approach has switched some Americans off texting altogether? Or could this just be a blip on the radar, with texting back to a steady increase in the next quarter? Let us know in the comments!