In iOS 7, Apple introduced the NSTextAttachment class for embedding images into attributed strings. OS X, pardon macOS, did have this feature much earlier, already as early as 2001 in version 10.0 “Cheetah”. I suspect that they needed 7 years to migrate because the first needed to revamp the inner workings of UITextView and UITextField to natively work with attributed text, as well as modernize CoreText into what is nowadays referred to as TextKit.
With iOS 10 being released, we now have 3 major iOS releases supporting text attachment in standard UIKit views. About time, that we start using text attachments for displaying inline images in rich text.