WWDC 2021: Apple’s iOS 15 FaceTime update, launch of SharePlay reflects hefty dose of Zoom envy

Apple seems a bit miffed that Zoom is a verb, and now Apple is racing to add features to FaceTime that mimic those of Zoom. The upshot: Zoom can have the business, but Apple wants a big piece of shared consumer experiences.

At the WWDC keynote, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, outlined FaceTime updates in iOS 15 that include:

  • Portrait mode.
  • Sharing FaceTime links and even (gasp!) connecting with those Android and Windows folks over the web.
  • Screen sharing.
  • Shared experiences via a feature called SharePlay where you can listen to music and watch video with others.
  • An API in SharePlay that allows other apps to be integrated with FaceTime.

Sound a bit familiar? Zoom has those same features — except, perhaps, for the entertainment app integration.

Bottom line: Apple wants FaceTime to be more in the conversation along with Zoom, and the latter has encroached on developers as well as events. You can expect a business version to be in the mix as Apple evolves FaceTime. 

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Here’s what Apple has in mind:

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