During its WWDC keynote, California-based tech monolith Apple has announced that its FaceTime app, once only available on its iPhones and Mac computers for iOS/MacOS, is releasing on the web and will be available for users on Android and Windows.
It seems Apple is taking on Zoom and the video calling service market with this move. FaceTime will also now allow users to send and receive links to scheduled calls. Call links can be shared with people in advance.
A release date has yet to be announced, according to The Verge. However, it is expected to be included in the iOS 15 update coming in spring. The new web version of FaceTime will either be available with the update or come after.
More new features coming to FaceTime with iOS 15
Apple also announced several new FaceTime features that will ship with iOS 15, including:
- A new grid view option for multiple callers at once.
- A voice isolation feature to improve sound quality.
- Spatial audio support.
- “Portrait mode” will now let you blur your background like most video-calling services.
- SharePlay – This new feature will allow groups of people to watch or listen to the same thing at once over FaceTime, sort of like Netflix Party. Pull songs, videos and share your screen with other users over FaceTime. Several major streaming services have been announced that will support the feature on release, namely – Disney Plus, Hulu, HBO Max and Twitch. Of course Apple’s own Apple Music and Apple TV Plus will support it too.
Virtual watch parties became popular during the first many months of worldwide lockdown with people reaching over the internet to spend time with friends and family. SharePlay looks to rebrand FaceTime from a convenient video calling service for your grandparents into a hangout space.
Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference is the company’s second-largest showcase for new developing products – from iOS, MacOS, to be apps set to be released.
Unable to perform the event in person due to the pandemic, this year Apple streamed the event. Showcasing many new software features, as well as a few hardware surprises.