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

Apple is adding screen sharing to FaceTime, shared experiences, Portrait mode, as well as meeting links outside of Apple's ecosystem (yes, even you, Android users). Sound vaguely familiar?

WWDC 2021 highlights: iOS 15, privacy, and more

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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