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What is the difference with Apple Business Chat?

Apple also currently offers a service called Apple Business Chat. And it may seem that why use our iMessage API if there is a native solution from Apple where the sender can be branded? But this solution has many disadvantages. Here we list the main problems that Apple's Business Chat does not solve:
According to Apple's rules, your business chat shouldn't be fully automated. You must include an operator in the conversation. If you ignore this rule, you may be disconnected from this service. Thus, you can't build an automatic chatbot through such a solution.
Screenshot from Apple Business Chat Policy
To use Apple Business Chat you must find a middleware (MSP provider) who will accept and processes your requests. You can't connect directly to Apple as there will always be some middleware between you and iMessage. Most often, this middleware also provides services for a fee. So Apple Messenger for Business is not a free solution.
You can't pre-apply for a review of your Business Chat integration or make some beta tests with your real contacts until you have fully completed the integration that complies with Apple's policies and they have reviewed your integration. Therefore will need to spend resources to make integration until it will be fully ready to launch, then will need to complete a review by Apple, and only then you will be able to make beta tests or try to use it in production with your real contacts.
Apple requires you to have your messaging integration reviewed by an Apple team twice: once after it’s been configured and another time before you are ready for launch. If Apple doesn't like something about your integration or activity, your submission for business chat will be rejected. And the funds that you spent on integration will never be refunded.
When a user initiates a conversation, you can't know any information about this contact. It's a good idea of privacy, but in order to serve a client well, you always need to know some contact information about them. You will always separately ask in the business chat for contact information about the user in order to verify them. Also, this idea of privacy is a good opportunity for spammers to attack you, because you will not be able to determine who exactly is attacking you.
In our API, you will immediately be able to see the contact information of who initiated the conversation with you in order to prevent such issues.
Supports only iOS 11.3 and newer or macOS 10.13.4 and newer.
Through our API, you will be able to chat with users who have iOS 5.0 and newer or OS X/macOS 10.8 and newer.
iMessage group chat with a business chat is not supported. If you need to develop an iMessage solution that supports group chats, then with Business Chat you can forget about it.
One company can have only one business chat.

But what about branding in Apple Business Chat? Isn't that the main advantage of this solution?

If your company is engaged in software development, but you want to make a weather forecast bot, then Apple will reject your submission. Since Business Chat branding should be relevant to your company activity and branding can only be associated with it. You will have to register a separate business entity that will be associated with the weather forecast and show statement documents to Apple for them to review such a request. For example, if you sell airline tickets, then you will not be able to register a business chat that can book hotels. Since Apple may consider this not your type of activity/business.
If you need more than one chat, then you need to register two business entities, one chat = one entity.
You can't use Apple Business Chat if you're an indie developer or a small startup that wants to quickly create an iMessage chat solution. Since it's required to have a legal entity in order to submit an application for a business chat.

If Apple Messages for Business has so many disadvantages, in which case it can be good?

It is suitable for large corporations that have a large support department. In this case, it will work very well as an additional communication channel. So, business chat most likely will not be a very good solution for small or medium businesses, indie developers, and companies that specialize in chatbots.

Updated on: 20/12/2022

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