Now that iMessage has been out for a couple of months, stats are revealing just how much the new service reduces the amount that people send traditional text messages. Tipped off by an iOS app developer, New York Times tech reporter Jenna Wortham dug into her phone records and noticed a trend. Since Apple released iMessage, she's not using nearly as many text messages from her mobile carrier plan. In fact, it looks like Wortham's traditional texting numbers are down by about a third. What's more, her voice usage has been falling dramatically for months, as her data usage has been skyrocketing.
Wortham posits that this is probably because of "data-guzzling applications like Spotify… and not from sending and receiving iMessages, which consume a negligible amount of data on the network." The drop in text messages is to be expected for iPhone users with iPhone-using friends. (Others have noticed the same trend.) Without so much as switching a setting, Apple automatically switches to iMessage if it detects that your friend has the capability on her phone, changing the message window's color from green to blue, indicating that iMessage is engaged.
So what does it all mean practically? You might want to consider checking your bill and downgrading your texting package. As iPhone usage continues to grow we'd imagine that the use of iMessage over text messages will only increase. A single text message -- or, if you're European, an SMS -- requires a negligible amount of data, but mobile carriers charge disproportionately high prices for text messages. Based on one Atlantic tech writer's estimate, "AT&T charges 100,000 times as much for a text message as for the equivalent amount of any other data sent to or from their phones." Don't worry: Carriers realize the trend towards data-based messaging services and are working on jacking up those prices, too. But if you happen to have unlimited data, you might not need the unlimited text messaging plan anymore. You could even use those few extra bucks to pay for Spotify Unlimited and send your friends songs (for a song!) instead of texts.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.