The multihour iMessage outage (today’s, that is) continues [Updated]

Apple’s(s AAPL) having yet another services problem and this time it’s affecting one of the core features of iOS devices: iMessage. Since about noon Pacific Time, both Apple’s messaging service and its video chat feature, FaceTime, have been experiencing problems, according to Apple’s Systems Status page.

iMessage outage

One thing that’s not clear is how many users are experiencing the problem — many times the status page will identify a percentage. Anecdotally, I know both me and some of my colleagues on the West Coast have had issues with iMessages sending as text messages and coming in out of order, and Twitter users from a variety of areas are complaining.

While some people may be moderately annoyed by a FaceTime outage, iMessage problems are another story. Messaging is one of the most popular and important features for mobile devices. Sure, text messages can be a backup, but people using iPad or an iPod touch without a data plan don’t have that option. And even for those with a cellular plan that comes with texting, some people are having those come in out of order (“it’s the worst,” a colleague informs me).

Any company can have a services or cloud outage — many do. But for Apple, a company with a history of problems with services and its cloud-based platform in general, today’s outage is yet another reminder of how much work it has to do.

Update: Apple’s systems status page shows that the issues with iMessage and FaceTime were resolved after just over five hours, at 5:20 p.m. PT.