You can replicate this behavior with Samsung devices, but HEIC (aka HEIF) isn’t the default format and thus isn’t used nearly as often.

While it’s not clear exactly how Google intends to address this, the solution probably won’t thrill iOS users. If Google mandated a conversion to JPEGs for free users, it would chew up more of its own resources and reducing quality for people used to seeing their photos untouched. Effectively, it’d hurt functionality just to ensure that iOS and Android users were on equal footing.