One of the highlights of Apple’s WWDC keynote yesterday was its expansion of a feature that has been native to its iOS and macOS devices for the longest time: FaceTime.
FaceTime, for those not in the know, is Apple-speak for a video-calling product native to iPhones, iPods, iPads and MacBooks.
It is one of the products that brings to life, for everyone to see and experience, Apple’s famed prowess in properly integrating its hardware with its software. The end result is a video-calling experience that is hassle-free and has, for long, gone without an out and out Android rival until the arrival of Google Duo nearly half a decade ago.
Given the times that we are living in, and after the past year that we had, obviously, demand for video-calling apps has shot up and products like Zoom, Google’s Meet and others like Microsoft’s Teams have made lots of inroads and transformed the virtual meeting experience at a time when physical meetups are either not possible or highly discouraged. Despite being one of the more noticeable products, FaceTime had lagged behind and had been overtaken by events.
That is what Apple sought to rectify with the announcements made last night. As a result, for the first time ever, users of non-Apple devices, namely Android and Windows-based devices, will now be able to use FaceTime. Here’s the catch: Apple devices are still needed to set up and initiate FaceTime calls. However, once that is done (including scheduling), links to the calls can be shared with other users who need not be using Apple devices who can then join the calls through links that open the call in a browser tab/window.
The calls will still be encrypted, end-to-end.