Apple may be preparing an iOS version of it’s popular iChat app on the Mac, according to code discovered within iOS 5 by developer John Heaton. The code references chat services such as Jabber and AIM, suggesting that Apple may be working on an instant messaging client of their own.
TUAW reports that the code contains strings that aren’t currently included in any of Apple’s existing iOS apps. If Apple does add instant message support to iOS 5, it’s unclear whether they’ll build their own app, or add the functionality to iMessage.
Similar rumors have cropped up in the past, and it may be beneficial for Apple to include support for instant message protocols within iMessage. As nice as that would be, however, it’s important to remember that nothing is official until it’s announced by Apple.