Apple's FaceTime Comes to Android (and Windows)

Though iPhones remain not supported on Republic, among today’s announcements from Apple is support for FaceTime on both Android (and Windows). There is no Android (or Windows) FaceTime app and an Apple device (iPhone, iPad or Mac) participating in the conversation remains a requirement. The new cross-platform FaceTime features are enabled by the latest Apple operating systems (iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS 12 Monterey). iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 land Monday, September 20th. macOS 12 Monterey is due later this fall though a public beta is available now. Apple has an impressive track record of supporting its older hardware. iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 run on devices released as far back as 2015. macOS 12 Monterey runs on some older Macs released as far back as 2013.

The gist is anyone with an Apple device running iOS 15, iPadOS 15 or macOS 12 Monterey will be able to invite Android (and Windows) users to a FaceTime conversation by sharing a weblink. Android (and Windows) invitees join the conversation by accessing the link. My understanding is only the latest versions of Google’s Chrome (Android) and Microsoft Edge (Windows) are supported.

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This probably stimulated Apple to do what they should have done 10 years ago:

Set up Google Duo - iPhone & iPad - Google Duo Help.

Given that Skype, the now deprecated if not defunct Google Hangouts (and others) have long provided cross-platform including Android and iOS video conferencing, I don’t think Apple felt particularly threatened by Google Duo. Rather, I think Apple’s baby steps into cross-platform video conferencing are more likely inspired by Zoom, Microsoft Teams and to a lesser extent Google Meet.

Ironically, Apple had indeed intended to release FaceTime as cross-platform and was prepared to submit the protocols used as open standards, so others might create third-party FaceTime clients. A lawsuit from a patent troll ended those plans at the time.

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Because I can, i installed Apple’s iOS 15 Public Beta on a household iPhone (obviously not using Republic service). Generating the FaceTime weblink proved to be straightforward enough. The link is shareable via the usual methods notably email and/or text message.

So, as of September 20th presuming they have an iPhone or iPad capable of running iOS/iPadOS 15, Republic members will be able to join FaceTime conversations with those who insist on using Apple devices. While the Apple device user must generate the link, there would be nothing stopping one from shooting whomever has the Apple device one wants to converse with an email or text message asking them to do so and share the link.

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