One developer has revealed to MacRumors that there is evidence that Apple has already started building in iMessage support into OS X Lion’s iChat instant messaging software.
Buried in the framework of OS X Lion’s iChat, are two new properties (highlighted below):
@interface IMMessage : NSObject
The “timeDelivered” and “timeRead’ fields indicate the tracking of delivery and read receipts for instant messages. These features, however, are not supported in any of iChat’s native messaging protocols, while the same features are offered in Apple’s iMessage protocol. These properties were also not present in previous versions of iChat prior to OS X Lion. We believe the only reason Apple would have added these properties was to build in cross compatibility with their new iMessage protocol.
Adding iMessage support into OS X Lion’s iChat would allow iOS 5 users and Mac users to easily send text messages to each other in real time. This would not be the first time Apple has added such cross compatibility between its Mac and iOS product lines. Apple similarly extended iOS’s FaceTime video conferencing feature to the Mac with the launch of FaceTime for Mac in February.