Apple Will Reportedly Add Group Video Call Feature to FaceTime in iOS 11


According to a report from Isreali technology blog The Verifier, FaceTime may finally gain group video call support in iOS 11.

If the release cycle of the past versions of iOS is any indication, we will see the announcement of iOS 11 in June and the release later in the fall. The report says that iOS 11 will focus on social elements of FaceTime and Messages.

According to sources, users will have to initiate a group FaceTime video call from a group chat in Messages. The video chat will reportedly be able to support up to five people.

A June announcement would coincide with Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. The event typically focuses on OS updates planned to ship later in the year, giving developers an early glimpse at them and a chance to build or update apps with support.

[via 9to5Mac]

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  • raslucas

    I didn’t think decentralized group video chat was possible…

  • raslucas

    And by possible I meant feasible. Like every connection double the bandwidth usage in a decentralized setup.

    If you want group you should use Skype, you just know it’s not a p2p call, it’s a p2Server2P call

  • Dehop

    It could be decentralised in the sense that the user initiating the group call becomes the server, instead of everyone going through Apple’s servers for the entire call (the initial connection would still be set up by Apple servers but then handed off to the initiator)

    This is similar to Bittorrent in that sense, where users downloading a torrent need to go through one or more trackers (servers) to find others with the same torrent, and after that connections are direct. The analogy’s not perfect but close enough.

  • Dehop

    It’s about time group chat came back. It was a feature of iChat over a whole DECADE ago, when few people had the bandwidth and video compression capabilities we have now

  • raslucas

    No that’s fair. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around that, but it still means the initiator could be using a lot more data than everyone else.

    Who knows how they’d pull it off but it’s interesting.

  • Dehop

    Oh for sure at least one in the group will have a higher load. But, I think you’ll agree one with a higher load is better than the same high load being carried by all. A single user-server also sets a common level of video latency among the group, so User 2 is only sending to and receiving from a single user (User 1), instead of up to 4 (Users 1, 3, 4 and 5).

    It’s possible the user-server setup is fault tolerant enough that server duty can migrate to a different user if User 1’s connection starts having issues keeping up.

  • Z S

    About time! iChat has this forever ago, and now a bunch of other mobile apps have it.

  • raslucas

    Yes. I get it. And I’m sure that all users would have an empty connection to each other as a failover in case the first user drops off?