Apple plans to build its new, free instant messaging app for iOS, iMessage, into the desktop iChat client, according to reports.

Back in June, Apple unveiled iMessage as a major part of iOS 5, offering free text and multi-media messaging and group chat between iDevice owners.

An Apple developer has uncovered code within a new version of iChat for Mac OS X, which features the same 'time delivered' and 'time read' notifications Apple has promised to bring to iMessage.

If the discovery does signal iMessage integration into iChat, it would allow iOS device users to exchange messages with Mac OS X users and vice versa and so on.

BBM killer?

Apple's new instant messaging solution promises to pose a greater threat to BlackBerry's remaining market share.

The BlackBerry Messenger app remains hugely popular among RIM's younger users.

However, with iMessage effectively performing the same functionality, with a slicker interface and also offering the lure of the App Store, it's little wonder RIM's shares dropped as soon as Apple's announcement was made.

iMessage will land with iOS, which is expected to arrive in early October for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Link: MacRumors