Developer John Heaton has found a string of code within iOS that could point to Apple’s iChat going to the mobile platform at some point in the future.
The strings of code mention Jabber and AIM, both of which are in iChat, alongside FaceTime and iMessage. The code could just be standard for all of Apple’s platforms, as MacRumors points out. That would make sense, but be rather depressing. An integrated iChat app would make instant messaging much easier on the iPhone, rather than making users rely on sometimes buggy third-party apps for those services.
If the strings are the same across all platforms, it could give more evidence of Apple bringing iMessage to the Mac, which would also make sense. It fits with Apple’s recent assertion that the Mac is just another device on the same level of the iPhone and iPad in terms of what data goes through it. If your iMessages get pushed to each iOS device just like photos in Photostream and music from iTunes, it would make sense for them to be sent to the Mac as well. Again, this is all just hints based on code, but we can always hope.