Last year, gripped by a sudden and shocking pandemic, Apple acted as if nothing had happened. Yes, the company moved employees remotely and held its presentations online, including WWDC (for the first time in history), but it kept announcing new devices. Released iOS 14, iPadOS 14 (by the way, very good), iPhone 12, and most importantly – Apple’s own chip for computers, M1. Everyone at Apple deserves a lot of credit for keeping the “machine running” throughout 2020, but the company has been helped a lot by its forward-thinking policy. In other words, Apple always plans everything in advance (yes, they are already working on iPhone 14), so the pandemic did not take her completely by surprise.
Unfortunately, this approach has a downside: the company does not adapt well to new conditions, since everything is spelled out in the roadmaps for years to come, and Apple cannot be flexible… Last spring, it became clear that masks would be an important feature of social life for some time, but there was no way to adapt the next iPhone to these conditions in order to add Touch ID to the Home button in time.
Apple is in no rush, for better or for worse. This week at WWDC 2021, the company finally unveiled a series of features that appear to be based on the hard lessons learned from the last year of pandemic life. It’s great to see how Apple is reacting to the changes in the world, but isn’t it late? For example, by making a new Zoom out of FaceTime.
Why Zoom is better than FaceTime
In the past year, many of us have spent too much time on video conferencing. And for all Apple’s prominence in the tech world, using FaceTime for video calls was not even discussed in 2020. I speak from personal experience: my whole family uses Apple devices, and yet when we needed to do a video chat, we used Zoom. I haven’t even considered group FaceTime calls.
This is, at least in part, Apple’s fault. She was not able to do well with group FaceTime calls at first. During beta testing, the feature was so buggy that it was removed from the iOS 12 release. Apple decided to add quirkiness to the interface, avoiding the standard grid that literally all other video conferencing apps prefer, and instead put participants in a FaceTime group call in floating bubbles that swayed across the screen, increasing in size as the person inside the bubble began to speak. Many were embarrassed and distracted.
FaceTime has actually been quite successful in arranging one-to-one video calls. I use FaceTime for family calls several times a week, and I love it. But I suspect that FaceTime has established itself so well as a one-on-one communication tool that few people knew about group calls using this service. A pandemic arose, the need for applications that allow us to see each other remotely became especially urgent, and FaceTime found itself in the spotlight. I’m sure Apple had a lot of facepalms about this whole thing. But the good news is that it looks like this has sparked a serious and promising revision FaceTime service.
What’s new in FaceTime
While Apple said in the presentation that the goal of the FaceTime changes (expected this fall in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey) is “to make FaceTime feel more natural, comfortable, and realistic,” let’s be honest: it’s also about making FaceTime possible. compete with Zoom, WebEx and other video conferencing services.
First, Apple changed the design FaceTime, making it more discreet and familiar to other users. Second, by adding link support, Apple is also taking its first steps outside of its own ecosystem. People on third-party devices can click the FaceTime link and join the FaceTime conversation right in the browser. This takes FaceTime beyond an Apple-only product. True, only the owner of an iPhone, iPad or Mac can start a conversation or conference. But anyone can join.
And there is also a function SharePlay, through which users can not only watch video or audio content together (for example, a presentation of a new company product), but also share their screen. Well, cool?
But is it too late?
For Apple, the debut of all these new features is actually an impressive achievement. The problem is that by this fall, the need for video conferencing software around the world may not be as pressing. Of course, the pandemic has not gone anywhere, but everyone has already adapted so much that it will be difficult for them to switch to the new service.
Maybe FaceTime has a chance. While Apple likely missed out on the trend for video conferencing apps, I suspect 2020 will forever change the way people use the Internet to interact. Even if the pandemic dies down completely, we will continue to use telecommuting services. With friends, relatives, colleagues. And someone might very well consider FaceTime for that.
I don’t think FaceTime will start threatening Zoom and other big video conferencing players this fall. But I’ll say this: With the major updates that Apple announced this week, FaceTime is far more likely to be one of those players.
Source: AppleInsider.ru — крупнейший сайт о iPhone, iPad, Mac в России by appleinsider.ru.
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