Apple Share Play
From this fall, the decades-long dispute between Apple and Facebook will begin a new chapter. And that part of the story leads Apple to invade Facebook’s territory in a way that has never been done before.
On Monday, Apple revealed several new social features that will come to iPhones and iPads with the launch of iOS 15 this fall.
IPhone users will soon be able to make FaceTime video calls with Android and Windows users for the first time. You can also use a new feature called SharePlay that lets you put a FaceTime call on hold and watch a streaming movie, listen to music, or share your screen with your contacts. IMessage is getting a boost too, with new features that make it easier to share web links, photos, Apple Music tracks, and Apple News articles with your contacts.
In short, Apple is laying the groundwork for a number of social features that allow you to do much of what you would normally do on Instagram and Facebook, just with a more emphasis on privacy. Think of it as a watered down social network without all of the bloat and annoyance you find in other apps.
It’s the kind of thing that is going to drive Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg absolutely crazy.
Zuckerberg has previously said that he sees Apple as a big competitor, largely because of apps like FaceTime and iMessage that are pre-installed on the more than 1 billion Apple gadgets in use around the world.
Additionally, late last year, Facebook launched an anti-Apple PR and advertising flash over a new iOS privacy feature that restricts how companies like Facebook can use your personal information to send you targeted advertisements. (Facebook makes most of its money on ads and needs this targeting data in order for its ads to be effective.)
It is no coincidence that just a few hours before the big Apple event on Monday, Zuckerberg collected the 30% fee that Apple collects from many app manufacturers on the iPhone.
Apple’s new social features in iOS 15 will also come long before Zuckerberg can complete Facebook’s privacy pivot that was announced more than two years ago. From Zuckerberg’s point of view, there will be two types of social sharing on the Internet in the future: private communication, such as messaging in Facebook apps such as WhatsApp and Messenger, and public communication, such as posts on Instagram or the core service Facebook.
Apple’s announcements on Monday proved that you don’t need Facebook for a lot of the things you already do on Facebook. Why log in to Facebook or Instagram and give up personal information when you can share photos, messages and videos just as easily in iOS 15?
If Zuckerberg was right, and there will be a large chunk of communication going through a “privately-owned” version of the Internet, Apple has largely beaten Facebook in this future.