Apple adds Group FaceTime and may be an enterprise collaboration player

WWDC 2018: Apple can support FaceTime with up to 32 participants and could be a collaboration tool for businesses.


Apple is adding Group FaceTime to iOS 12 in a move that could make it more of a player in video conferencing and collaboration.

Given Apple's iOS and device footprint in the enterprise, the move to add multiple folks into a FaceTime should raise a few eyebrows for everyone from Microsoft's Skype to Zoom to Blue Jeans and Cisco's WebEx.

Just as Google became a collaboration player with G Suite, Apple can use FaceTime as its Trojan Horse to the enterprise. Apple software chief Craig Federighi outlined access to Animojis and Memojis and chat to video features that would be more consumer-ish.

But rest assured FaceTime can be a bring-your-own collaboration tool. "It works on iPhone, iPad and Mac, and you can answer in audio on your wrist on Apple Watch," said Federighi.

He added:

Setting up a group call couldn't be easier. Instead of typing one person's name you can type multiple. FaceTime is also integrated into Messages so you can go from a group chat into a group FaceTime, and people can drop out whenever they want.

Now FaceTime can add up to 32 simultaneous participants, though that would be one unwieldy conference call. But that limit highlights a selling point Apple could use in the enterprise.

The collaboration software players have no need to fret about FaceTime just yet -- Apple would need screen sharing, integrated chat and recording to really be business ready -- but for the average meeting Apple's Group FaceTime may be good enough.