Last week, code strings were found in iChat’s framework in Lion indicating Apple could be at work developing a cross-platform support for the iMessage protocol in iChat. Today, Fusible points to a set of three trademarks (1, 2 and 3) which surfaced in the United States Trademark & Patent Office’s database. All three are related to iMessage. As you know, iMessage is Apple’s new messaging protocol allowing iOS 5 devices to exchange instant messages and rich media between themselves (think BlackBerry Messenger for the iPhone). It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out it makes a lot of sense to eventually integrate FaceTime, iMessage and iChat into a unified messaging solution on both the Mac and iOS 5 devices. Switching between iChat and FaceTime for Mac is unwieldy and there is no reason we shouldn’t be able to send iMessages from iOS devices to our Mac peers and vice versa.

iMessage is integrated right inside the iOS 5 Messages app. Users simply type in their message and iOS figures out whether to send it as a text message over the cellular network or as a free iMessage (carrier data charges may apply), which is denoted by the blue chat bubble, over either Wi-Fi or cellular data connection. iMessage works with both phone numbers and email addresses, meaning iPod touch users will be able to exchange iMessages with iPhone and iPad owners and vice versa.

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