Sometimes you cannot help but feel the iMessage App Store still owes us a couple of unique entrants to wholly justify its establishment last year. Games and stickers aside, the depth and breadth of the store leaves a lot to be desired and must-have iMessage extensions are few and far between. With that, it is always refreshing to welcome a new aspirant to the ranks that sets out to shake things up a little by bringing genuinely new functionalities to your keyboard. Vidicast, a video broadcasting app operating autonomously inside iMessage, does just that.
The iMessage application is best synthesised as a cross of any video broadcasting feature on the most popular social networks today (Instagram, Facebook, etc) and FaceTime. When hooked up, it provides the recipient of the iMessage invitation with a one-way live video stream, which then can be responded to in real time. The ambition of Vidicast is bold, bold enough in fact that one should be willing to give it some rope in regard to early days hiccups. Before you whizz to your iMessage App Store, here’s what you need to know about Vidicast’s attempt to break the mould of iMessage app extensions.
A new class action lawsuit alleges that Apple intentionally broke FaceTime on iOS 6 in order to push users towards iOS 7. The move rendered older hardware like iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s inoperable with the FaceTime service. AppleInsider reports that Apple wanted to save money on a pricey data services deal with the content delivery network Akamai.
Everywhere you look today, large social media ventures are seemingly ripping a page out of Snapchat’s playbook. Instagram did it, Facebook’s Messenger app has done it, and we are about to witness Facebook itself clone Snapchat’s daily stories big time. As much as Apple are primarily known for their hardware, it goes without saying that this major shift in what consumers want from their applications (or: spike in perceived self-importance) will not have gone unnoticed by Apple’s software department.
Coincidentally or not, Snapchat-like features are spreading like wildfire at a time where Apple are beginning to talk more openly about the prospect of tying Augmented Reality into a future iOS version. Against the backdrop of Pokemon GO’s success with augmented camera images and Snapchat’s unrivalled popularity based on selfie filters, it is not far to seek that Apple will be looking to capitalize on such trends as well – and what better way to jump on the bandwagon than to provide built-in effects for the stock camera?
Like the sound of it or not, it has got to be a proposition almost irresistible to Apple, mainly for two reasons: the ability to deepen monetization of their in-house apps and chance to reel in a whole lot of new Gen-Y customers. Here’s why filters on iOS could happen in 2017.
The other day I overheard a woman at the coffee shop spiritedly conversing on FaceTime with what I can only presume was her mother. The topic of discussion had been the daughter’s holiday trip, and her mom said something that struck a chord with me: why can’t you show me the photos on here? This got me thinking (at which point I stopped listening in, promised). Since its inception, FaceTime has received dreadfully little attention from Apple. The introduction of FaceTime Audio aside, the service practically makes for an absolute freeze-up in an otherwise constantly forward moving software environment.
As consumers, we have become used to companies spending more resources and time on pet projects of theirs and conversely less on comparably idle services, but what is astonishing is that this analogy does not explain the ongoing neglect of FaceTime. Because for all its faults and plainness, FaceTime is tremendously popular. For reasons only known to the Cupertino giant however, it does barely show in the application’s development. To add insult to injury, the lackluster state is likely to persist for yet another year until the next big software update for iOS rolls in. Never mind the fact this means forever in industry years, but it’s even worse because FaceTime is already adrift of the competition.
With that said, it is time for Apple to start play catch-up and resuscitate the service. Since the coffee shop encounter, I have been mulling over how Apple could ramp up the offering realistically in the near future. Here is what I believe is feasible and crucial for FaceTime to implement within the next year:
iOS 10’s been found to upload missed call logs from apps like WhatsApp and Skype to servers, as well as near-real time FaceTime call logs—even if iCloud backup has been turned off, according to a Russian company called Elcomsoft which makes iPhone forensic tools aimed at law enforcement agencies.
Elcomsoft CEO Vladimir Katalov suspects in an interview with Forbes that this is most likely a result of iOS 10’s expanded scope of call logging due to the new CallKit framework which was designed to make VoIP calls from apps like Viber, WhatsApp and Skype behave like cellular calls and integrate with Phone’s Recents and Favorites.
According to Apple itself, call log syncing through iCloud is a convenient feature that elevates user experience by allowing customers to easily return calls from VoIP apps.
If you thought the refreshed innards of the new MacBook Pro would let your friends and family see you in crisp 1080p video resolution via FaceTime, you’re in for a major disappointment. Much to my surprise, the built-in FaceTime camera (which, by the way, Apple calls “high definition”) has remained at 720p.
High-end laptops from other vendors are increasingly outfitted with 1080p cameras which provide sharp images during video calls, but not the new MacBook Pros.