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FaceTime is coming to Android and Windows via the web (theverge.com)
636 points by jbredeche 5 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 332 comments

Wow. That is unexpected. I have to say that FaceTime in a browser sandbox is one of the few Apple products I would consider using. I wonder what made them take this path?

I also wonder if someone could build a Matrix bridge if it is available via web, that would be fairly cool.

Some questions:

- Is it phone-number based IDs? Or can I pick a username or get a random ID?

- Is spam going to be a problem? Previous Apple had the advantage that you had to buy a multi-hundred dollar advice to call someone. Will they need to implement new spam measures (or will you simply have to add a contact first)?

> I wonder what made them take this path?

it was literally an email that surface on the Epic store litigation, where one Apple exec says (quote from memory) "We can't have facetime for android because that will remove the barrier for families to buy Android phones for their kids"

So it will be crappy and have TONS of limitations (wouldn't be surprised it it only work with one apple device hosting) because it is only for legal excuse reasons.

That email was about iMessage, not FaceTime: https://www.theverge.com/2021/4/9/22375128/apple-imessage-an...

> We can't have facetime for android because that will remove the barrier for families to buy Android phones for their kids

I might be missing something... Is there something in this that is illegal?

> illegal

besides being immoral and a literal F-U to your consumers, it can bring anti trust cases when you are as big as Apple.


But other than that, well, just go celebrate your $2 gain on your APPL stocks despite the fact you were prohibited to call 50% of your friends just so someone couldn't save a few bucks when buying a phone for their teenage kid. Go you!

How is it immoral to not actively support your competitor's hardware with your software and services? Of course it isn't, iMessage is not a utility, it's not a public good. You can still text or make voice calls to anyone you want, or even video calls using dozens of third party apps.

They have no moral obligation at all to extend their own first party services to Android, that's an absurd idea.

The intention behind not letting it work for their competitors is immoral and potentially illegal. They want to do it to prevent their consumers to buy their competitors products for their family, even if their competitors product are better; just because they already have a device in the Apple ecosystem.

They are not "preventing" anyone from doing anything, they are simply, until now, refraining from improving their competitors devices by releasing their software for it.

Of course they prefer people to buy iPhones for their kids, there is nothing wrong with that, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with not actively working to make the experience of mixed Android-iPhone families slightly better.

There are literally dozens of cross platform messaging and video calling apps. Banning these would have been wrong, and possibly illegal, but they are not doing that.

It is immoral and illegal that McDonalds won't serve me a Chik-Fil-A sandwich.

This is such a great rubric!

The email we are discussing specifically says they want to prevent customers from buying their competitors products for their friends and family.

I don't know if they use the word "prevent" or not, but we both know that they are not in fact trying to literally "prevent" anyone from buying an Android phone. They just don't want to give them some of the benefits of iOS if they do so. No reasonable person would call that "prevent".

They are specifically and intentionally limiting the ways in which their customer can use their devices unless they buy more. Is that simple enough to understand?

No they don’t, they “limit” the way people can use Android devices.

Their customers cannot use their devices to iMessage their friends or family on Android.

A small software company is treated differently than one of the largest companies on earth, both from a moral perspective and a legal perspective.

Anticompetitive behavior is illegal for companies with a monopoly, and based on the leaked emails, it seems Apple's intentions were clear. The "monopoly" bit is still up in the air, but it's becoming increasingly clear the "anticompetitive behavior" bit is not.

This FaceTime news shows that Apple's lawyers are probably worried.

Reasonable people may argue that they have a monopoly on iOS apps, which could be problematic, but they don't have anything even remotely approximating a monopoly on video calling or messaging apps, which is what we are talking about here.

They also don't have any kind of monopoly on TV or music streaming, so there would be nothing wrong (and certainly nothing illegal) with keeping Apple Music and Apple TV exclusive to their platforms, so clearly they believe they will make more money by making them cross platform. Presumably it's the same with Facetime.

I think it's funny that Android users are so angry with Apple for not releasing iMessage and FaceTime for Android. How dare Apple not make their communications platforms even more dominant! Not having iMessage on Android is immoral! Not having FaceTime on Android is "a literal F-U" to their customers!

I think it's funny because Apple left a decade-long opening for Google to build equally good Android alternatives to iMessage and FaceTime and dominate in cross-platform communication. Instead, twelve chat platforms later, I'm not entirely sure if Google has finally released something that won't be superseded next year.

In Europe at least, I'm very unhappy that neither Google or Apple has managed to create any form of standard communications platform, because now instead of one of those two, everyone uses WhatsApp from Facebook, which I personally hate using but am obliged to if I want any kind of social life. If Apple had created Android versions of their messaging products, their own users wouldn't be forced into Facebook's arms.

Before you say, "just don't use it", here are some examples. My kids parents/school group uses WhatsApp, same as my kids sports club to organize matches/training. I'm a volunteer for a local association -- WhatsApp group. I really have little choice in using it.

>I think it's funny that Android users are so angry with Apple for not releasing iMessage and FaceTime for Android.

I don't get the impression that Android users are angry at all. It's me as an iPhone user who is pissed about never being able to use any of these supposedly fantastic services.

I have never used FaceTime and probably never will if it is true that Android/Linux/Windows users cannot initiate FaceTime calls on this new FaceTime web app.

I don't really care for iMessage or Facetime, I don't use them even though I can, but

> because Apple left a decade-long opening for Google to build equally good Android alternatives to iMessage

is simply not true. No one but Apple can integrate SMS and messaging on iOS as Apple can; others do not have entitlements for that. You could do it on Android (and Google did for a brief period with Hangouts, and so did Signal), but you can't do it on iOS.

you talk like either as if facetime is a good product, or as if you love anything from apple regardless.

i think it is a closed solution that sucks just like all the others.

i think every single one of those lock-in-for-profit platform only attract idiots (in the original greek work meaning of the word) and makes true open solutions that will ultimately help everyone slower to show up. Because eventually they will.

To be honest, it is more a F-U to your competitors' customers than to your own. I don't get why Apple creating a feature for their own ecosystem has to be made available to other ecosystems as well. It's not like Face Time is the only video calling solution out there.

>To be honest, it is more a F-U to your competitors' customers than to your own.

Why? As an iPhone user, I am the one who paid for the development of FaceTime, but I can't use it because communications tools require network effects that FaceTime doesn't have. I can't even use it with my wife.

I'm not saying it's somehow illegitimate or even illegal for Apple to do this, but what it tells me is that Apple cares more about hurting competitors than about providing a useful service to its own paying customers.

The way Android users complain about the lack of Apple iMessage and Apple FaceTime on their phones, you'd be forgiven for questioning whether Android had any messaging or video calling features.

I will tell you a secret: it's not Android users who complain about the lack of iMessage or Facetime. Most of them are not even aware of their existence. They are using Whataspp, or Viber, or whatever and go on with their lives.

I agree with the arguments (usually made by Apple fans, and I don't mean that as a pejorative) that Apple is probably in their legal rights and that it makes dollars and cents business sense for them to limit iMessage to iOS as much as possible.

But it's still a shitty thing to do. I have a tremendous amount of respect for companies that do things that are contrary to business objectives because they're the right thing to do. In this case, Apple chose to do the shitty thing.

I don't have an opinion on this either way but why is that "the right thing to do" in your mind? It seems to me like making that available on non-Apple products would give very little benefit to them or their users while introducing lots of uncertainties that may actually make the experience worse for most users. The reason most Apple features work the way they do is because of the complete vertical integration of hardware and software. Introducing unknown hardware seems like a bad idea when consistency is your whole schtick.

They could have been in every school and every office by now with a cross platform solution, instead they have zoom&co eating that space. I don't think they're happy about that either.

Prohibited? There are many many other options of course. Admittedly, FaceTime is the best I ever used (no echoes, just works, works best over low bandwidth, etc.)

Calm down.

It seems to violate various competition laws depending on jurisdiction.

Does it? One thing going for this is that Apple is huge and iMessage has a massive amount of users. But on the other hand forcing developers to support all platforms is just not realistic.

Yes, it is only available to invite others. You cannot start a FaceTime call from the web

apple PR is running around downvoting facts :D

> I wonder what made them take this path?

Very simple.

Video conferencing software has an anti-network effect:

If just one person in a group cannot use a particular app, nobody in the group can.

Doesn't the same apply to chat software / iMessage? Also, FaceTime isn't really conferencing software (though they added a bunch of conferencing feature just now). It's closer to Duo, which focuses on casual face to face meetings, not at desk, presenting slides kind of video meeting.

No, because it just moves to SMS for the group, instead.

Video conferencing has no ubiquitous fallback.

Neither does SMS for large parts of the world. Not everyone has unlimited SMS like US carriers do. And/or as soon as one participant is abroad you're talking international SMS prices.

This isn't a clean fallback option.

However it's a _good enough_ fallback that has been working for many groups. Yes, it doesn't solve the issue for all possible groups. But Apple likely doesn't care yet, and probably shouldn't until there are other changes it can work on that would affect larger groups (like bringing FaceTime to the web).

Most of the world uses WhatsApp though, so there's no fallback necessary if most people in the world never even open up iMessage.

> Is it phone-number based IDs? Or can I pick a username or get a random ID?

You can use FaceTime without a phone number. Just create an Apple account, then give your contact your AppleID associated email address to add to their contact card for you and you have a working FaceTime destination.

> You can use FaceTime without a phone number. Just create an Apple account

You cannot create an Apple account without providing a phone number.

Any number is usable though, it can be a landline and use automated call rather than sms.

Point is to limit false account (and I guess also having some clues about real identity in case of abuse).

So you still can't use Facetime without a phone number.

This is a honest question, so, what is so good about FaceTime? I have not used an iPhone since version 3GS, so it has been a while, but I understand it is just something similar to whatsapp video calls, google meet, or even zoom?

In my family, it was the best video calling option back in 2010-2012 or so, and there was no competition. So all the older people only know how to use Facetime, and no one is going to go through the trouble of teaching them anything else.

I also have been embarrassed trying to teach Google's solutions and then Google messing with them over and over, so I won't ever try to introduce a Google service again.

Seriously why are Google video calls SO confusing and why do they change every year?

Google video engineers gotta justify that promo to Senior Staff

I honestly 100% feel like this is the main justification for all changes happening with Google products. I swear to god Google Photos changes the entire layout every year for no reason whatsoever. Whatever they change it to isn't better, just different. But the entire website has to be remodelled and your users have to learn the entire website again because.....someone on the UI team has to justify their 6 digit salary?

The transition from Google Play Music to YouTube Music has been insane. They rebuilt apps seemingly from the ground up, only without a bunch of features. Meanwhile the actual product has, at best, stood still for about two years now. Meanwhile Spotify are running rings around them.

RIP google play music. They had the _best_ recommendations - my suggested new releases would often include a fantastic album by a band I’d never heard of. Since switching to Spotify, i get suggestions for new music by artists I already know I like, but I haven’t found any new artists I love in the same way.

I miss what for the same reason

Spotify has atrocious quality, their apps frequently are unresponsive and crash or won't play music often. Just about everyone I know who uses it complains about it from time to time. I haven't tried YT music so I can't compare, just saying.

I have both and really have no issues, just saying. Spotify has the crazy advantage of being on literally every device I own, my car has a Spotify app built-in directly into the dash which makes it crazy convenient, I also have it directly on my TV, on my speaker.....they have built an ecosystem and the ecosystem works great(in my case).

One complaint I have about them is that shuffle is broken. Completely broken. And I know they explained multiple times that it's not, that people are imagining things, but I just don't believe that - it's impossible that in a playlist with 300 songs I keep hearing the same 5 songs over and over and over again!

I have Youtube Music (through Premium) and it's still annoying. Especially when it decides some cover version on Youtube is "for Kids" and then refuses to play in the background. Which is one of the few features actually essential for a music player.

Are they though? I'm actually curious since I don't know the numbers but wouldn't use Spotify if you paid me. I've got nothing against the app, but YouTube Premium gets me ad-free youtube everywhere including casting devices as well as a solid music streaming app. If it weren't for the value of the bundle I'd likely not care as much though.

> If it weren't for the value of the bundle I'd likely not care as much though.

Surely being paid to use Spotify would represent even better value.

I’m the same. While I get ad-free YouTube into the bargain I’m not going to switch away. But friends of mine love the highlights, smart playlist stuff Spotify has (to be honest I don’t know the full details). Not to mention that Spotify has an entire API people make apps with, not having that has left me on the outside of some stuff before now.

Google Meet is a pretty solid solution and I have never had a problem with it, been using it for years.

Years? https://mobilesyrup.com/2020/04/08/google-meet-rebrand/

Google rebrands or changes entire apps at a whim. I’m shocked they haven’t ruined Google Apps (Workspace) with their changes.

Yes, it was originally named "Hangouts Meet", and was renamed about a year ago to remove "Hangouts" from the name. It's still the same app, though.

On the subject of hangouts, I miss Hangouts Dialer which was killed earlier this year. Used it to call international phone numbers.

Do you use it in Chrome? I have tried chrome and Firefox but they both make my fans spin for one video stream and four audio streams. Zoom's native app OTOH seems to handle multiple video streams with ease. This is on macOS.

Google apps use VP9 for video, and Apple didn't expose VP9 decoding acceleration via Video Toolbox up until Big Sur (on models capable doing so, so for Intel chips Kaby Lake and newer). So if you don't run Big Sur on KBL+, it falls back to software.

Duo is solid, extremely simple, and not going anywhere. But, yeah, it's been a mess.

>and not going anywhere

What is this certainty based on? Google's history shows the exact opposite likelihood.

Duo is pretty easy for the old folks on i-devices, in my experience. It's pretty much Google's FaceTime, and isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

I think it's actually a bit nicer than FaceTime.

I have only ever heard about Duo on HN. Nobody I know uses it, people outside the US use WhatsApp or Facebook and people inside the US use FaceTime.

Even Hangouts which is abandonware is better promoted than Duo and takes a prominent place in the Gmail UI along with Meet.

>isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

You say this like Google doesn't have a history of product ADHD where they create new products and cancel them within months. On top of that, they create multiple products for the same functions which means that people get confused about what's appropriate for a situation and what's not. At one point, Google had 3 different video solutions all active at the same time and none of them worked with the others.

I thought duo was canceled. Haven’t heard of it once in all of the pandemic.

Google Duo (the FaceTime competitor afaik) works fine and I have used it with all my family for a while now.

There's also WhatsApp video which is pretty poor quality, imo. Duo is much clearer and higher quality.

the web interface works pretty nicely as well. I've been using google messages and duo lately and they have been working pretty flawlessly

I’m sure it does - the technical aspects of Google’s products are fantastic. But I’ve been burned enough times now and I just assume anything interesting and new that Google makes will be rebranded / deleted / shunted into a new department in a few years for no reason. Google duo? What about Allo? Is that gchat? Is it related to hangouts? Or was that just a Google plus thing? Does that even still exist? Is duo it related to Meet? It’s all such a mess.

When Inbox came out I thought “huh this is great. I’d better not get used to it or I’ll be sad when it inevitably gets shut down in a few years”. And sure enough. I dread the family conversations in a few years of “wait where did the icon go?”

The Gmail app pretty much turned into Inbox. I was dreading the shutdown of Inbox but it ended up being a complete non-event.

I totally agree. I also don't usually trust google to support their 'projects' in long term, but since messages and duo seem to be pre installed in android devices (I think?) I was inclined to try it out. Just hoping that messages and duo are here to stay

One can understand scepticism, but Duo isn't going anywhere. If you need a FaceTime replacement, just use Duo and put all the rest of that mess out of your mind.

> One can understand scepticism, but Duo isn't going anywhere

"In August 2020, it was reported that Google was planning to eventually replace Google Duo with Google Meet, but would continue to support Duo and "invest in building new features" in the long term"


How do you know this? I don't know anyone using it so I've honestly been assuming it's the next to go. I've been using Meet with all my groups as it feels like a corporate solution and thus maybe more stable.

yes. i love it. i can share screen, cast to tv (on samsung devices etc). potrait mode, virtual background, blurr..its all there!

I see from the responses that one thing that is omitted is the clearly higher audio/video quality. I had someone call me on facebook messenger, but had to ask them to call me on facetime purely because of quality, and its not the first time.

As with all Apple products "it just works". I wonder if that may change when it goes to the web.

More than quality, Facetime seems to have much lower latency for me than other options, and this leads to much more natural-feeling conversations.

Duo and WhatsApp have significantly better video quality (especially off of Wi-Fi) than FaceTime

The audio in WA is good, but the video quality is TERRIBLE on WA.

LINE which I use more often is far better quality than WA.

I've found WA to be more stable on the audio front, and video is great as well. But I have an ancient 6s so I'm not quite putting out the highest quality video.

That's certainly true of Duo in experience.

This is demonstrably false. WhatsApp is so bad it makes my eyes bleed.

We defaulted to Facetime until it became obvious that it really couldn't cope with occasional bandwidth glitches.

We switched to WhatsApp and video quality is noticeably more reliable. It does a better job when - for example - someone is outside and the WiFi isn't 100%.

I like it because it has lower a/v latency compared to many other apps, especially over long distances. I think many people don't realize how much it affects the feel of the call.

A fun way to test is counting to 10 by having one person say 1 and the other say 2 as soon as they hear the 1 and so on. You'd be surprised how long it can take to count to 10 on some apps

It's just easier to use for Apple entrenched people. You can automatically see which of your contacts you can call with it and you can do it straight from the contacts app. Plus it will ring iPhone/Mac/iPad. Otherwise it's not considerably different.

That's a bit dismissive. I use android and iOS devices regularly and of all the options facetime is what I use the most for the following reasons: 1) The latency is very good, which is critical for a comfortable video chat experience. 2) Performance and experience is reliable and consistent and it handles less-than-ideal network condition very well. It's the one that I know is most likely to give me an acceptable experience the first time.

Not to be cliche but...it just works. Especially for the older generation who are used to calling people, the UX is seamless.

No links to send (Zoom), no ever-changing products and menus (Google anything), and as few taps as possible/low friction to turn on (Whatsapp is comparable).

The audio and video quality is also pretty damn good.

My Grandpa has FaceTime and already knows how to use it.

What others have said. From my experience it's relatively simple, feature limited and dead simple to use on screen/camera containing ios/macos devices. The web version won't have the same get the app nag/confusion as zoom/whatsapp/meet, at least temporarily....

I am not aware of anything in particular. But my threshold of "I will run it in the browser" is fairly low, so if someone wanted to do a FaceTime call with me I would join.

Privacy, and if negatives can be positives, it's not Facebook by association, not Google, and not Zoom. I won't explain why those negatives are negatives because I think it's widely known, but again it relates to privacy.

On an iPhone, the barrier to using facetime is very low, its like making or receiving a video phone call than using a video conferencing app - I'd imagine more elderly or low computer/smart phone literate would can a facetime call to their grandkids than use whatsapp/zoom to do the same

Atleast for me, the experience with Facetime has been less than optimal. For some reason the call option to some of my contacts is always disabled even though they can call me.

The left hand side of the window in Mac always displays recently called. No idea how to access contacts in the Mac app.

The video quality is all right.

> The left hand side of the window in Mac always displays recently called. No idea how to access contacts in the Mac app.

In the app itself AFAIK your only option is to type into the search box at the top of the missed calls list, and it will search contacts.

Otherwise you can load the contacts app and look there, and then click the facetime icon for the contact you want to connect with.

What people said in sibling posts was true before today. Now we'll also have spatial audio, music sharing, video sharing, controls to filter out noise (or not) in real time and other cool features. Although not on the Web I expect.

Zoom is more like Webex, FaceTime is more like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger with less creepyness.


Works worse than WhatsApp and Google Meet. Way worse than Duo.

Functionality wise worse than Zoom but UI is maybe better than Zoom. But wait, FaceTime has essentially no UI.

Works a lot better than Signal. But Signal’s audio video and their UI around it sucks, so that’s nothing FaceTime ought to be proud of.

It’s just Apple doing Apple things and fans going bonkers over it.

My theory is that FaceTime calls can only be initiated/scheduled from an Apple device. That prevents most of the spam problem, since you won’t be able to initiate a call through web.

This also boosts value for ios users more than the rest. It means an ios user can facetime anyone rather than only ios users while an android users still has to rely on an alternative solution.

I worry that my contacts could feel insulted if they find out I'm contacting them via this sort of "don't call me" communications channel.

Well it sounds like they will send you the link between another communication channel. So you can always respond there and send your own video call link (using another service).

I’m sure if they could kill global phone networks with FaceTime for everyone they would, but I think that they’re solving spam by blocking any device that spans using a serial number or secure UUID or something that iOS can’t fake, rooted or unroofed — but their web solution can’t access such data to provide a hardware-baked identifier to ban for spamming.

Theory confirmed:

> Non-Apple users can join a one-on-one FaceTime call or a Group FaceTime call, effectively making FaceTime a more platform-agnostic video service that is no longer just limited to iOS users. You do, however, need an iOS user to start a FaceTime call and send a link.


> Apple announced that FaceTime is going to be available on the web so users can call in from Android devices and Windows PCs

From the article.

“call in” means an Apple user has to initiate the call, as GP stated.

That implies, but does not guarantee. It’s my best guess, not a certainty.

Just tried and when going to the site it asks for a name, no need for an Apple Id. And on the hosts device it asks to be let into the call.

This comment likely answers your questions https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27425909

I worry that if it's anything like the music.apple.com experience, it will be frustrating to use.

I spend a lot of time on my PC for streams/gaming, and I put up with music.apple.com because I'm normally a happy subscriber using my iPhone.

But the website is just terrible.

- I get logged out if I don't visit for a day which requires a whole 2FA dance. Why not just leave me logged in?

- If I am still "logged in" after some hours, all songs become "previews" and I can't actually listen to anything. The fix is to log out and log back in, and it's a dice roll whether I'll get to do the 2FA dance again

- Songs routinely just don't play when I click them. Only fix seems to be leaving the album that I'm looking at and then returning to the same page

- Navigating away from albums occasionally makes Chrome pop up a "you have unsaved changes" warning. Why?

> I wonder what made them take this path?

Perhaps noticing that everyone was using Zoom during the pandemic?

Remember originally Steve Jobs promised that FaceTime would be an "open standard." For some reason Apple backed off on that.

Considering that it's only available to join existing calls and not to initiate calls, it's likely an email address paired with a random ID.

A lot of Apple's previous attempts at "web apps" have been pretty half-arsed. Including Apple Music currently. Let's see if this is any different.

I'm currently using Signal on Windows/Android/iOS and apart from two annoyances it is fine.

- No gif support on Windows (Android/iOS only)

- Cannot add a second phone but can add a tablet. As soon as it detects a SIM card slot (with or without SIM in it) it only allows you to set it up as the primary device, rather than a secondary like a tablet.

>- Cannot add a second phone but can add a tablet. As soon as it detects a SIM card slot (with or without SIM in it) it only allows you to set it up as the primary device, rather than a secondary like a tablet.

This is so infuriating. I can have Signal with the same account on my phone, my macbook pro, and my windows desktop, but not my iPad Pro. It doesn't even have a SIM card in it. Just an empty slot.

Agreed - I got a second phone and can't have Signal on both. It's a weird and off-putting limit that had me rethinking my use of Signal in general. Now I'm using Matrix with a Signal bridge, so the second device is a Matrix client. It's frustrating that messaging is so fractured. I feel like there's no go-to service that avoids lock-in and respects privacy.

Weird... I've had two generations of iPads with cellular, and Signal has worked for me, in linked mode, on both devices (both with and without a SIM present).

Maybe this is a bug that only affects certain models or something?

Strange. I have an iPad Pro with 4G data and tablet mode works fine.

> Including Apple Music currently.

Oh god. The Apple Music web app is so incredibly bad. Hands out the worst web experience I've ever had. It flat out cannot do its function (play music) reliably at all. I’m so confused why they thought it was shippable - they should be embarrassed that this is something they released to paying customers. It’s terrible.

It made me switch to Spotify.

Identical experience. It was so buggy that clicking the play icon on a song would play a random other song in the same list. As well as being insanely slow. Switched to spotify and it has worked well.

You want half assed? FaceTime when it was announced by Steve Jobs, he himself up on stage said it would be open source. The developers in the front rows looked at each other and said, “did we say it would be open sourced?”

It’s still not open sourced to this day.

You are correct that the idea to make it open source was a spur of the moment that took the developers by surprise. But the reason why it never happens can be spelled VirnetX

> VirnetX has been described as being a patent troll, accused of marketing no actual products or services and instead earning its revenue through licensing patents

I'm so glad we have the patent system around to promote innovation and protect creators!

> Steve Jobs, he himself up on stage said it would be open source

This seems to be the quote you are referring to:

“FaceTime video calling. Now, FaceTime is based on a lot of open standards — H.264 video, AAC audio, and a bunch of alphabet soup acronyms — and, we’re gonna take it all the way. We’re going to the standards bodies, starting tomorrow, and we’re gonna make FaceTime an open industry standard.”

Note Jobs promised open industry standard and not open source. They are not the same thing. But you are correct that we are still waiting for Jobs' promised open standard!

This CNET article also misconstrues "open industry standard" as "open source" and also blames VirnetX:


TBF he said it would be an open protocol, not open-source. That being said, obviously Apple still never followed through...

Apparently it's some variant of SIP. I'm surprised that it's been a decade and no one has RE'd it all and written an open-source client (or have they all been threatened by lawyers...?)



You want half assed?

Not Apple's fault. See other replies in this thread that it was killed by a patent troll.

Why would Apple be afraid of patent trolls? If they wanted to release it as an open-specification, they could.

Why do you think Apple is immune to patent lawsuits? They have frequently had to settle them.

That's the problem. They cannot because one of the technologies they're using is covered by an existing patent that doesn't allow them to open it up. They would have to re-engineer how the whole system works to make it different enough to not be applicable to that patent.

To be clear, the patent in question is reaaaaaaally generic so there's really nothing they can do to get around it while still keeping a video-calling system that allows people to call with an Apple ID.

It would obviously be useless if they released the spec for it but you couldn't use it to connect to existing FaceTime devices.

A very lame excuse.

Apple is already on the hook for about a billion dollars to VirnetX. That's not a lame excuse at all.

VirnetX Market cap: 356.004M

Apple could offer every shareholder ten times the market value and end the problem.

What makes you think they would sell when it is more profitable to milk their patents?

It is.

> I'm currently using Signal on Windows/Android/iOS and apart from two annoyances it is fine.

A third one would be that they require a phone number?

Its only 1 way which means an Apple user can send a link to a non ios user to join in. I as an Android user cant do that.

Cross platform like whatsapp, duo or signal still win here

From Duo wiki: “ In August 2020, it was reported that Google was planning to eventually replace Google Duo with Google Meet, but would continue to support Duo and "invest in building new features" in the long term.[2]”

I don’t know exactly what that means. Seems like not much and Duo is still a priority. But all the deprecating and switching of Google products makes them a non win for me. It’s hard for me to get friends to try a new service. If it disappoints, the next time is that much harder.

It's no different than Hangouts. We got fed misleading headlines about how it was KILLED for years, but it seems like as far as users are concerned, it'll just be a UI change. Behind the scene they are migrating it to Chat, but all your chats and contacts and histogram will be migrated over.

I would assume something similar with Duo. It'll probably change look and get merged into Meet, but it'll probably still be more or less the same app.

As a Fi user, they did kill Hangouts for me. I can't use it for SMS and its only other advantage is it takes up a large chunk of my gmail tab. Why should I use it?

No one is forcing you to use it, and moving SMS to Voice wasn't great (though Hangouts never really was meant to be an SMS app), but for people like me who have used Hangouts for over a decade to chat with friends and family, it definitely isn't the doomed end most headlines made it sound. My family were asking me if we had to start looking for another place to chat 3 years ago, yet Hangouts is still up and working fine.

yeah who knows, that news came around the time Soltero joined Google and had all the communications apps under him. So far he has done a good job of consolidating Googles messaging platforms and Google Workspace.

Duo is huge in India and I use it a lot with family, so I can vouch that the call video and audio quality is amazing.

Switching apps ( like the whatsapp to signal ) is always painful though.

WhatsApp: Owned by a company that makes money invading your privacy.

Duo: owned by a company that makes money invading your privacy.

Signal: developed by a non-profit organization, free and open source, end-to-end encrypted in all regions, no encryption key hosting arrangements with any government-owned third party firm

Signal: requires disclosing a phone number to everyone you use it with

> Signal: requires disclosing a phone number to everyone you use it with

Signal also got distracted with a cryptocurrency scheme [1]. That shot their credibility in many circles.

[1] https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2021/04/wtf-signal-ad...

First, the "also" is misplaced. Signal's telephone number requirement is a privacy feature; it's not that Signal wants your phone number, but that using phone numbers as identifiers allows them to build a social graph --- every mainstream messaging app involves a social graph --- without keeping plaintext contact lists serverside, which is what every other mainstream messenger does. That's not a small thing; the information in those contact lists is one of the highest priority targets for any state-level adversary.

I don't love the cryptocurrency stuff either. I'm not defending it. But "shot their credibility" is an overstatement.

Fair on both points. The “also” is misplaced as most users have zero problem with Signal processing their contacts. And “shot their credibility” was hyperbole. “Severely damaged, albeit repairably” is more accurate.

Not exactly. They're evaluating adding micro payments to the app.

These micro payments will be handled by a third party which uses a crypto currency in the exchange.

The feature itself is good imo. Though I'm prolly never gonna use it because of the crypto intermediary.

Which means the other person knows it's me, right?

Might be troublesome if you don't want the other person to know it's you, though.

But that's probably not a problem in day to day communication with family and friends.

> Might be troublesome if you don't want the other person to know it's you, though.

You're mixing privacy and anonymity. Signal offers privacy from snooping, they have never claimed or tried to provide anonymity. Two very different use cases.

There are better ways to verify someone is who you think they are, e.g. asking them about an inside joke that you only told them in person at some point in the past, or what art you have up on the wall in your dining room.

Also, you might in some cases want to share knowledge or evidence without disclosing your identity, and phone numbers miserably fail for that use case.

Also developed by guy who is fighting against you being able to install it without involvement with a company that makes money by invading your privacy, who also has a history of working for companies making money invading your privacy.

Signal offers an APK that does not require the use of Google services.

> no encryption key hosting arrangements with any government-owned third party firm

Not really needed when your IME is spying on you. Signal in such an arrangement becomes security theater. They acknowledge this is a problem on their support site but never make any attempt to educate new users to the app: https://support.signal.org/hc/en-us/articles/360055276112-In... . It is arrogant to dismiss concerns about commonly-used IME's when people rely on this app for their own protection.

This was discussed previously on HN if anyone's interested in reading about the response, or lack thereof to the criticism: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25758995

>free and open source

Want to also point out that months go by without server code being published: https://www.xda-developers.com/signal-updates-public-server-...

Also, when users protested reliance on Google's store, analytics, and play services, Moxie chose to attack the forks and made us wait for years to get a direct APK without the requirements available off their site. I acknowledge that there's legitimate reasons why this was done, but all we get are excuses and silence for long periods of time when these problems crop up. It is not in the spirit of opensource/free software development to attack your own community.

> Not really needed when your IME is spying on you. Signal in such an arrangement becomes security theater.

This is not a signal issue. Literally every single app that gets user input from a keyboard suffers from this issue. Saying this is a signal issue is like saying flat tires are a ford issue.

> >free and open source > Want to also point out that months go by without server code being published:

Is there some unwritten rule that a open source project must publish code every x days to be considered open source? All of signals code has always been open source and always will be.

> Also, when users protested reliance on Google's store, analytics

Analytics? Care to show me where they ever used them? 99% sure they have never used them.

> Moxie chose to attack the forks

It takes a lot of money and man hours to maintain the servers and infrastructure for signal, why should OWS pay for other projects to use it? Signal is 100% open source, if someone thinks they can create a better replacement... They are free to take all of signals code and make their own app. But don't expect OWS to pay for the infrastructure and let them leech.

My point is that Signal is preferable to Apple Messages for privacy and security. I am not claiming that Signal is the best solution for every use case. (For instance, Matrix is superior if you do not want to be tied to a phone number.)

> Not really needed when your IME is spying on you.

Users can choose an open source keyboard on Android, such as AnySoftKeyboard or the default Android Keyboard (on AOSP installations). I don't know of any open source keyboards on the App Store for iOS, but the lack of an open source keyboard on iOS does not justify compromising encryption keys for Apple Messages users in certain regions.

Signal is not responsible for the security of the rest of the user's system, and if a user is using a keyboard that leaks information, then that also affects Apple Messages and any other app they are using, not just Signal.

> Want to also point out that months go by without server code being published

The Apple Messages server and clients are completely proprietary, so Signal is still preferable even though it had previously released server source code with a delay.

> Also, when users protested reliance on Google's store, analytics, and play services...

Apple Messages is only available as an app on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, with no option to fork because it is closed source. FaceTime is the same, but now also has a web app with limited functionality. On Android, Signal is still preferable in this area because it is fully available, can be used without Google Play Services, and can be distributed independently of an app store.

I'm not comparing Signal to Apple Messages, I am criticizing the promotion of Signal as a superior alternative while its developers will not address a major practical security concern.

>Users can choose an open source keyboard on Android

Then they should be made immediately aware of this in using Signal on Android. The IME issue is not going to be well-known outside the tech bubble.

> Then they should be made immediately aware of this in using Signal on Android.

Does any messaging app do this on any platform? You're demanding something that, as far as I'm aware, no messaging app currently does. Signal at least published the FAQ page, which you linked earlier, even though it's not their responsibility to ensure that the user's device is free of third-party spyware.

This entire discussion is about FaceTime and Apple Messages, which is why Signal is being compared to both. And Signal is superior to these services for privacy and security.

FaceTime: Owned by a notoriously secretive and litigous company using closed source and unverifiable claims

I'm not saying that Apple is somehow abusing your privacy in ways you don't know, but I am saying you don't really know one way or the other and largely cannot verify that their software is doing what they claim it does

Signal is open source, by the way.

I had to get upper management involved once when trying to buy an Airport Express, because they wouldn't allow me to make a purchase at the Apple store without leaving my name and contact details.

It's ethically OK to lie in these situations. You think I gave Radio Shack my real PII whenever I wanted to buy a battery?

I've given out 212-555-1234 as my phone number to so many random places, that I've accidentally given it out when I didn't need to hide my real number.

Also just about everywhere... (xxx) 867-5309 works for rewards cards and things like that. Also at Walgreens, you can use (420) 420-4204. That was the number the cashier gave me there since I told them I didn’t have a rewards card.

Just about everywhere: (local area code)-123-4567. 10 years ago I was almost always the only entry, if you're ever in the Cleveland feel free to use Aaaron ;-) If they don't like 123, use the store phone # prefix

I shouldn't have to lie. They didn't accept my "No.", nor that my full legal name was "Donald Fauntleroy Duck", until the case got escalated.

they wouldn't allow me to make a purchase at the Apple store without leaving my name and contact details

Was this recent? I was able to buy a new Mac just a few weeks ago without giving any information.

It was some years ago, I haven't been back since.

There's a privacy carve-out for stores and selling items because you effectively have to provide this information when paying with card for fraud prevention (both online and for in-store loss prevention).

I was paying cash. In my country you do not give any details when paying with card, you simply pay and you are on your way.

>forcing someone to create an account that uses their phone number and installs an app on their device

If I had any choice I would decline to join a whatsapp or signal call.

Phone number authentication is pretty nasty but it seems to be the only somewhat reliable method of spam prevention. It seems to be next to impossible to get extra phone numbers without government ID and large costs.

These days even most email providers require phone number authentication to register.

I'll take the spam thanks.

My guess is if they want to roll out wider competitive support for FaceTime, they just need to take their web version, which is probably a PWA, and wrap it in Electron for Windows and whatever the heck Android does with PWAs to put on the Play Store, and add the ability to log in.

This is a good first step though, and given I know people who only have Duo to video chat with their non-iOS contacts, this is going to be a blow to some competitors when that's no longer needed.

I think the main use case is participating in facetime via link rather than adopt facetime as your video solution. They would rather you buy into the apple ecosystem

To be clear are you saying that a web user has no way to initiate a call? They can only join via one-time link to a call started by a user on Apple hardware?

That is correct

So an Apple user creates a facetime call and sends the invite link to Android & Windows user. They then join on to the call using their browsers.

Non iOS devices wont be able to make a call. The web interface is just a way to join a call.

I think it's still pretty unclear at this point, because "an Apple user" can refer to someone with an AppleID using a web-browser on another platform.

Unless of course they made additional statements somewhere I'm unaware of (and maybe could you provide some source to further explain).

So Apple user using an iOS or MacBook device, not just an Apple user? Presumably on a supported iOS or macOS version too which also limits the devices too.

So, unidirectional Zoom.

"FaceTime on Android(browser) is such a brilliant way of guaranteeing your Android friends will always have a lesser experience without completing excluding them. The video chat version of green bubbles."[1]

1. https://twitter.com/russellholly/status/1401950208133632004

I don't think it's productive to equate the green/blue color thing with the accessibility or parity of experience between web apps and native apps.

The green/blue distinction is very meaningful. It tells you whether your chats are encrypted, which is not a default to SMS technology. In fact it would be more honest or accurate for Apple to display a padlock to inform you that you're secure; instead we have colors.

The colours are definitely there to indicate who doesn’t have an iDevice.

They predate iMessage being end-to-end encrypted, and predates Apples current privacy push. Additionally Apple senior leaders have got up on stage and joked about how people with green bubbles are second class friends.

All of that together makes me think the bubble colours are primarily there to gently nudge people into getting their friends and family to buy iPhones. Which is also the reason why iMessage doesn’t have an Android app, as stated in an internal Apple email made public in the Epic games lawsuit.

>All of that together makes me think the bubble colours are primarily there to gently nudge people into getting their friends and family to buy iPhones.

I don't think anyone can argue with a straight face that the color-coded messages aren't at least partially motivated by creating an in-crowd and out-crowd dichotomy, but its a stretch to say that they are there _primarily_ to get Apple users to bully their friends into switching platforms. Like many others have pointed out, there are a variety of reasons why one would want an obvious distinction between SMS and iMessage messages.

the obvious reasons: - knowing when your communication is encrypted - knowing when your going to incur outrageous fees from your service provider (cheap text messaging is not ubiquitous across the modern world) - knowing who you can communicate with without a cell signal (eg during flights, in remote areas, etc)

but also it serves a useful purpose for less advanced/savvy users to reduce confusion on feature discrepancies. There are a lot of niceties/features in iMessage that modern users might not realize aren't common to SMS messages. The average iMessage user might not be aware that they can't just send a huge video file over SMS, or a PDF, or send messages with the 'effects' Apple offers, or have named group chats that people have the option of joining or leaving, etc.

The 'cool kid' dynamic that the color coding creates is definitely not an accident, but there are obvious benefits to it that aren't nefarious in nature.

Adding on, I think in the context of the recent internal emails uncovered during the Epic lawsuit, it's agreeable that there's an ongoing story about Apple's ulterior motives to damage the competition by artificially limiting their outreach to customers on other platforms.

But IMO the solution there wouldn't be to remove the red/blue distinction, which as noted in this thread serves as important security and feature indicator — the solution would be to compel Apple to serve their customers better by not having them caught in the crossfire in their marketplace battles with Android.

I also noted that it would be more accurate for Apple to display a padlock to display the security status of a chat, but that would actually be even more derogatory. It's basically saying "this chat is unsafe."

I really hope Apple at least announces iMessages for the web, and a native client for Android. A lot of households are multi-ecosystem.

They exist to differentiate SMS vs iMessage.

This is important between fully iOS users too if data isn't available, to signify it sent via SMS.

> They predate iMessage being end-to-end encrypted

There was a time when iMessage was not end-to-end encrypted? I thought it launched like that on day 1.

I believe iMessage got E2E encryption fairly quickly after it's release (late 2013 if memory serves), but the "green bubble" did exist in that twilight-zone between both periods.

Also, international SMS/MMS incurs additional costs, so blue in iMessages lets me know it will not cost me anything, whereas green might be depending on the number to which I am sending SMS/MMS.

Also, MMS is terrible.

Heck, domestic SMS costs money for lots of people!

That would be amazing to me in the US, I assumed everyone had unlimited SMS/MMS/within the US phone calls. I have not shopped for mobile plans in over a decade though.

It varies by country. In Australia basically all phone plans have unlimited SMS but in places like south america and africa it seems common to charge huge rates for sms which is why whatsapp is so big over there.

Unlimited SMS allowances are common in the UK, but people still use WhatsApp instead of SMS.

It's probable that a large majority have domestic SMS for free/included-in-plan but most probably still have to pay for international SMS.

For a company of Apple's size, it would be fairly trivial to roll out support for RCS, which would give Apple users an easy way to send encrypted messages to non-Apple users. I wonder if they'd make the messages blue or green.

Right now we're in a weird spot where sending a text from android -> Android is usually encrypted (via RCS), and Apple -> Apple is encrypted, but between the platforms they're not.

I assume Google and its users would love if Apple opted to support RCS, and I assume Google would also love if Apple built iMessage for Android. Apple's chosen to do neither, despite the fact it would give its users a richer messaging experience and a way to encrypt more of their communications.

It's their choice, but it boggles my mind that people defend it.

The new SharePlay feature is actually quite cool. You wouldn't think it would be terribly difficult to share a movie or TV show on a video call, but actually due to the DRM that everyone uses it's almost impossible.

Using the normal screen sharing feature of most video conferencing apps simply doesn't work and shows a black screen instead of the video. The workaround that people I know have been using during the pandemic is the torrent the media and play from a local file which works fine, however it would be nice to have more legitimate means of doing it.

I got the impression that with Shareplay HBO Max subscribers could only watch HBO content with other HBO Max subscribers. (And then all involved parties are streaming from HBO, not the share initiator)

It wouldn’t make any sense any other way, given you can sync TV to TV.

I suspect it's more like a natural consequence of using hardware overlays for video, which can't easily be captured by reading the normal framebuffer. The DRM came later.

That would defeat the purpose of DRM. Maybe rightholders won’t be as stringent since this is apple, but typically they insist on all participants holding a license.

Steve Jobs notably said FaceTime was built to be an open standard when he introduced it on June 7, 2010.

It's suspected that this was thwarted by the VirnetX lawsuit. And Apple had to do a "design around" [2].


[2] https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/08/report-after-pat...

I doubt this actually matters, but it looks like almost all those patents expire very soon.

US7418504B2 - 2021-08-05

US6839759B2 - 2019-10-29 (expired)

US7490151B2 - 2022-01-24

I'm guessing rearchitecting to circumvent the patents means they're not going to unrearchitect just to open it up. If I'm understanding things correctly, instead of p2p it gets tunneled through a server to avoid the patents. Since FaceTime launched, most services realized with more than 2 people you'd want to go through a server anyway (and you also get benefits of re-encoding for lower bit-rates). If you rely on Apple's servers to tunnel your call I imagine they're not going to open it up.

Still I think 2 way calls would benefit customers by reducing lag and Apple by reducing server load if using p2p

That link is about iMessage, not FaceTime.

Close, he said they were going to make it standard (but then never did):

"Now, FaceTime is based on a lot of open standards — H.264 video, AAC audio, and a bunch of alphabet soup acronyms — and we're going to take it all the way. We're going to the standards bodies starting tomorrow, and we’re going to make FaceTime an open industry standard."

I believe it was something to do with the VirnetX patent troll lawsuits that prevented them from fulling that standard.

That Texas Eastern Court single handedly held back progress for at least a decade for everyone in the world with their insane patent troll rulings.


Thanks for the correction. I’ve also read that FaceTime had to change from p2p to using a central server for call coordination after they were sued for patent violations. I wonder if that’s really what prevented it from being opened up. https://www.theverge.com/2020/10/31/21543315/apple-ordered-p...

This may be urban legend but I remember hearing that the first time the FaceTime team learned it was going to be an open standard was when Steve announced it on stage.

And there is still seemingly zero expectation that FaceTime will be a standard. It's still a closed proprietary system. One that has web access to it now.

Will non-Apple device owners be able to start FaceTime chats? TBD perhaps. Will non-Apple account holders be able to connect to FaceTime rooms? Maybe. Will they be able to create chats? Almost certainly not.

It's unfortunate that the real spirit of creativity & innovation that Apple once believed in & knew has come to this. This is "progress", but such a narrow, corporately provided & limited window of progress, to me. I'm expecting friends will start expecting me to have an Apple account now & be willing to use their proprietary communications systems, now that the barrier is a bit lower, but I'd really rather not.

That announcement came as big surprise to everyone other than Jobs, and then died of natural causes more so than because of any patent troll.

I always use WhatsApp or Instagram for non-work video chatting. FaceTime is completely irrelevant unless you just happen to have your entire social circle using one company's hardware with no exceptions.

…and this changes that (to an extent) by allowing iOS/Mac users to have FaceTime calls with people in different ecosystems.

No it doesn’t.

Unless you expect others to be happy with an in-browser call experience while there are clearly other options available which are cross platform and superior. Yes, superior as well.

Right, so, that's why they announced the OP, to try to change that, right?

> FaceTime is completely irrelevant unless you just happen to have your entire social circle using one company's hardware with no exceptions.

No option is universal (not one of my kids' friends uses WhatsApp or Instagram, for example), although Zoom is near-universal in my family's world. FaceTime is a great option for friends/family who use iOS, and I'm glad to see Android and Windows support. It wouldn't surprise me to see it join Apple Music and Apple TV as an Android-native app.

>> It wouldn't surprise me to see it join Apple Music and Apple TV as an Android-native app.

I think the difference is those are paid subscription services - so the rare Android user who decides they want to pay for either of those services can - and the iOS user who is already paying with a family plan can share it with their kids' or SO's Android phones.

With FaceTime, it's a free service; and supporting it on Android would just be a cost sink.

My two cents. :)

That is a regional thing. Depending in which country and circle you live, usage of messengers vary a lot.

As is, or will it be made good? The UX of the current version is poor on iPad / OSX. That was fine in the past - Skype was the only competition and that was horrible - but with Jitsi, Zoom and Discord killing it they've fallen miles behind.

I think you're missing the point who FaceTime is made for.

Jitsi - heard of it once ages ago, never used it

Zoom - for business

Discord - gamers/teens?

They can carry on "killing it", but I'm not going to ask my mom to install and signup for Discord. I'll FaceTime her or send her a link she can 1-click join.

I love Jitsi, the main part being that I don’t need an account. It has always worked well for me, we use it for “virtual happy hours” and well it’s user friendly enough it seems to be a big enough hurdle the not so technical saavy seem to not get. There is an iOS app, or you just use a browser. I guess it’s normally the problem of making sure people enable their camera and microphone. Any who, FaceTime in browser seems like a big win for most people. People generally know how to use Apple things.

Facetime is for users who think videocalls are called "Facetime"

So, tens of millions of people. Seems like a reasonable strategy for attracting non-iOS users to the iOS ecosystem by enabling their massive user base to exert social pressure.

Or they could attract those users by making a better product?

Try before you buy.

Heroin is like this, too.

Discord voice chat works in browser without an account. Not sure about video, though. Discord has it's bugs, but IMO it's categorically better than zoom.

Not for my grandmother. All those chat programs and conversion stuff would confuse her.

I think Zoom is more "For everyone" than just for business. At least until they decide to start charging for it.

It is amazing to me that FAMAG companies let Zoom into the video call market. A half competent cross platform implementation would have left no room for Zoom.

My parents use Zoom now, and my distant non tech literate cousin in a developing country used Zoom to broadcast a funeral from abroad during COVID to all the extended family members around the world.

Don't forget Amazon Chime! :')

WebEx used to be the business solution. Zoom destroyed them. Many companies that used to use WebEx dumped it in favor of Zoom.

Zoom is for everyone at this point, because a huge number of people have had to install it for WFH/SFH.

LINE is the default choice for "video call" here in Japan despite high market share of iPhone. In other countries, maybe WhatsApp, WeChat, etc is on same position.

iOS 15 will have a lot of new Zoom-similar features. (e.g. Grid View and Backgrounds)

I hope it would let you choose whether or not the video feeds are cropped in or not, but I haven't seen anything to support this.

One issue I have with group FaceTime that I noticed during the pandemic is that it crops off the sides of the video to make it square, so when you're video chatting with a bunch of people (like, say, your family all sitting in front of an iPad) you can't see everyone in frame even though the camera is capturing them. With group FaceTime portrait/landscape mode doesn't make any difference to even attempt to address this, like it can for 1-1 FaceTime calls.

What about the really basic stuff:

* Broken contact list (it's worse than Skype!).

* Broken screen orientation.

* Ringing on every Apple device you own under the sun.

With their A-Team now on the case I'm sure that it'll get fixed.

>* Ringing on every Apple device you own under the sun.

You can control which device(s) ring:


What's broken about the contact list?

What's wrong with ringing all your Apple devices?

parent wants Apple to build a telekinetic device that can read parent's mind to decide which device to ring

(obligatory /s)

The weird mix of emails/phone numbers, which isn't obvious to merge/fix. It's an Apple product, I expect more.

Ringing: because I have three Apple devices (MBA, MBP, iPad) and it doesn't automatically ring on the device I'm using. Again, that would be fine for someone else, but I expect more from Apple.

It's like I don't get mad if a junior developer in my team makes a mess in PHP, but I would if a senior did. I have the same feeling for Apple vs MS/Facebook et al. Apple have shown that they can do awesome (the entire Macbook experience, the wifi, instant sleep which alway works.. fantastic hardware) so it hurts when they don't live up to their high standards.

Ah, so when you go to autocomplete, you’d like there to be less of a mixture of different handles, and more like Messages, which has one row per person?

The two are much more similar in iOS 15.

The screen orientation thing gets me - and it’s been that way for YEARS.

In short, unlike most every other app which seems to actually use the orientation APIs, Facetime fakes it. This works fine on your phone, but if you’re trying to airplay the call up to your TV so you can see people a little larger, nope. You’re stuck in portrait mode forever. You’re better off asking the other person to rotate their phone.

Maybe this means Apple will bring iMessage to Android in a year or two just to mess with Facebook Messenger.

Apple could have brought iMessage to android at any time. They explicitly choose not to because of the social pressure to buy an iPhone this places on youth. This was pretty explicitly laid out in the Epic v Apple case.

That plan only worked in the US though, and it spectacularly backfired everywhere else, where iMessage is mostly irrelevant.

I know a guy that never set up iMessage on his iPhone - when I asked him why he didn't, he just told me he only uses SMS for OTP which he reads from the notification, so it never occured to him to open the Messages app at all.

Doesn't seem like much of a "backfire", it gave Apple big strides in the US market and at worst resulted in less people using a free service Apple has to pay to operate in other markets.

It worked exceptionally well in the US though. You are a weird teenager if you have “green texts” - anecdata of course.

Yeah, green means kick whoever isn't using Apple out of the group chat. Apple basically promotes bullying of kids who don't have an iPhone.

I agree. This seems like Apple is finally conceding it needs to bring FaceTime and Messages to Android and Windows, but it wants to do it slowly so that it looks like they don't care much.

BTW outside of the US, Whatsapp is (AFAIK) the most popular messenger. At least in the Western world. I don't know about China.

Western EU, yes. Eastern, not sure, Messenger and Viber seems more popular around Balkan for example

WeChat is the most popular chat app in China. It's a domestic messaging app with a lot of other apps built in.

I think Whatsapp and other E2E encrypted chat apps are banned.

In east Asia; China uses WeChat, South Korea uses KakaoTalk, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand uses LINE

ignorant q: does Messenger still hold much of market share? over the last few years almost all of my contacts transitioned to WhatsApp, Telegram or Signal. Messenger is just way too bloated.

My impression is that teenagers just use Instagram chat these days (or Snapchat).

Even better, have Apple adopt RCS.

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