Apple’s Group FaceTime feature for iOS 12 is delayed, not shipped with primary

Group FaceTime will not be released with the initial iOS 12 update. The feature will be available at a later date in the fall.

When Apple announced new features for iOS 12 at WWDC this year, one of the highlights of their presentation was the group FaceTime Call. Group FaceTime, displayed by Apple, allows up to 32 people to participate in a FaceTime call. However, those who hoped to get the feature with the initial release of iOS 12 later in the fall are disappointed. According to Apple, Group FaceTime will not launch when iOS 12 becomes publicly available. IOS 12 is currently in beta testing, and the software is expected to roll out on all compatible Apple devices sometime in September.

Apple’s beta release note states that “Group FaceTime has been removed from the initial release of iOS 12 and will be sent to future software updates later this autumn.”

It looks like the Apple Group wants to spend more time improving FaceTime. Apple’s feature show on WWDC shows how participants in a group FaceTime call spread out in small boxes on the phone screen. Users can be a part of the conversation via video or audio from iPhone, iPad or Mac. There is also an option to participate via Apple Watch via FaceTime Audio.

Otherwise group facetime calls were a necessary addition to the aging facetime platform. It is even more important for Apple to rollout group facetime right now because most other internet calling services are increasingly accepting group calling in one form or another. Facebook-owned WhatsApp recently launched group calling on its messaging platform, so did Instagram.

Although Group FaceTime’s interface is questionable, and even if the demo platform seems quite stable, we can’t say how the app will work in real-world use. For starters, Apple users will be able to club up to 32 users in a group FaceTime call. The main participants of the call will get their own window at the top half of the screen, while all the other participants will be shown on a scroll at the bottom of the screen. One feature that caught our eye is that when a participant says something, it animates their window to become more prominent, indicating that the person is speaking. What happens if 3-4 people talk at the same time? Will the participant’s window continue to pop in and out? If so, getting a group facetime call can be difficult for the ears as well as the eyes. As far as participation is concerned, if a group of users already have a group conversation in the Messages app, they will automatically see the option to start a group FaceTime call. Participants can be added at any time, join later if the conversation is active.

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