08 Jun 2021: All you need to know about Apple's SharePlay
The unrelenting global pandemic may have made it impossible to Netflix and chill, but Apple has a solution: SharePlay. The iPhone maker revealed the latest iOS 15 update to FaceTime at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). SharePlay allows users to watch video content together while using FaceTime. Unfortunately, the feature doesn't integrate Netflix itself, but Disney+, HBO Max, and Hulu have been incorporated.
Could get annoying: All participants of FaceTime call can control video, audio playback
In addition to OTT content providers, SharePlay also works with video streaming apps such as Twitch and TikTok. The in-call integration of video content also includes shared playback controls allowing all participants of a FaceTime call to play, pause, or skip tracks. The feature will be available to iOS 15 users across devices such as iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac desktops and laptops.
Shopping with friends: Screen sharing integration opens up new dimension to FaceTime
The feature is activated when a FaceTime participant adds video/audio content, with the livestream synchronized in real-time. However, music and video streaming aren't the only way to use SharePlay. The feature allows users to share their screens through FaceTime, which opens up virtually everything to be viewed collaboratively. From showing off mobile games to helping a friend shop online, the possibilities are endless.
Details: SharePlay API access will lead to apps tailored for collaboration
Apple has also promised to make SharePlay-specific API available to developers. This is interesting because it enables app developers to integrate the collaborative feature into their products in a seamless manner. This should allow new and existing apps to have collaborative features deeply embedded to facilitate everything from shared whiteboards and planners to even allowing Apple itself to deliver remote technical support.
Big question: How will OTT players deal with sharing of paywalled content?
The launch partners for SharePlay include Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, NBA, Twitch, TikTok, MasterClass, ESPN+, Paramount+, and Pluto TV. With so many players, it is unclear at the moment how these subscription-based streaming service partners will handle video sharing. Sharing accounts is already frowned upon by these services, so using SharePlay to stream content to non-subscribers is a potential dilemma for these streaming services.