Apple’s FaceTime platform has allowed iPhone, iPad, and Mac users to make video calls to one another for years. Now the company is opening up FaceTime to non-Apple users. Sort of.
Taking a page out of Zoom’s playbook, Apple is bringing support for inviting anyone to a FaceTime video call via a link. Users can click that link on any device to join the call… via a web browser.
The upside is that this means Android and Windows users can now join FaceTime calls for one-on-one or group video chats. The down side is that it seems like you’ll still need to use an Apple device to start or schedule a FaceTime call.
FaceTime’s new (sort of) cross-platform capabilities will debut with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, but it’s just one of the new features coming to the service.
Apple says it’s also bringing a new (also Zoom-like) grid view, support for Portrait Mode (allowing users to blur the background of their call in real-time), and new audio features including:
- Spatial Audio (sound will be spread out to match the on-screen position of each speaker)
- Voice Isolation (AI-assisted noise reduction that will silence everything but the voice of the person speaking)
- Wide Spectrum (the opposite of voice isolation, this lets you pick up all sound to detect music or ambient sound)
Apple is also introducing SharePlay, which allows users to do things like watch videos or listen to music across a FaceTime call, while keeping media playback in sync across all devices. This works with Apple’s media services, but also with some third-party services including Hulu, Disney+ and HBO Max. SharePlay also supports screen sharing.
You can find more updates from Apple’s WWDC 2021 keynote in Liliputing’s live blog.