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Apple expands Facetime On the way to the digital campfire Apple is renewing its Facetime app. The group is not only reacting to competition from providers such as Zoom, but is also opening up to Windows and Android devices. Marcus Schuler explains the reasons.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook at the developer conference WWDC21 | AFP PHOTO / APPLE INC./HANDOUT

Apple is expanding Facetime On the way to the digital campfire

Status: 08.06.2021 7:46 p.m.

Apple renews its Facetime app. The group is not only reacting to competition from providers such as Zoom, but is also opening up to Windows and Android devices. From Marcus Schuler, ARD studio Los Angeles Apple is slowly opening up to Android and Windows devices with its video chat service Facetime. It’s almost a small revolution – at least by Apple standards. Software boss Craig Federighi sold the news as follows: “Not only Apple devices can do something with the Facetime link. Users with Android or Windows can also open it directly in their browser and take part in the chat.” So far, Apple has struggled when it came to opening up core functionalities on its iPhone or desktop computers. But the popularity of video chat services like Zoom has exploded in the Corona crisis. Apple reacts precisely to this development and has given its Facetime app a fundamental facelift.

Competition for Zoom

From there, you can send links to friends with Android phones or Windows computers in order to meet with them in the Facetime chat. Marc Gurman, an analyst at the Bloomberg business service, says Apple is primarily competing with Zoom. Among other things, with scheduling and improved sound and picture quality. The new Facetime app is supposed to deliver a bit of a digital campfire. With the help of the app, you will be able to listen to music and watch videos together in the future without interrupting the chat. It should be possible to watch programs together with friends. Ambient noises should be better suppressed in the chat app. There will also be a portrait mode that blurs the background.

More control and more data protection as an issue

The second big innovation on Apple’s smartphones concerns the notification functions. They give users more control over how and when they want to be disturbed or undisturbed. “There are new features with which you can adapt the notifications to different activities. For example, while you are working or want to be undisturbed,” says analyst Gurman. Data protection and privacy have been playing an increasingly important role at Apple for the past three years. The Californian company is trying to sharpen its profile in order to differentiate itself more strongly from its competitor Google and its Android system. So-called tracking pixels are now blocked in the Group’s mail app. Advertisers and marketing people are likely to be annoyed with Apple again. You can no longer check whether and where an e-mail has been opened.