FaceTime is coming to Android. Here's why iMessage won't

Apple unveiled its latest updates in iOS 15, including new FaceTime and iMessage features. Check them out.

Posted: Jun 8, 2021 12:08 PM
Updated: Jun 8, 2021 6:00 PM


One of the most surprising announcements from Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on Monday wasn't a new feature for its own customers — it was something new for Android and Windows users.

As part of its unveiling of iOS 15, Apple said users of other operating systems will be able to join FaceTime calls when invited via a link sent by an Apple user. The announcement about FaceTime was among a slew of other software updates introduced for the iPhone, iPad and other Apple products.

The move to allow non-Apple customers access to one of its apps is unusual for the iPhone maker, leaving some to wonder whether access to other popular Apple software products might be expanded, too.

Part of Apple's appeal has long been exclusivity — you have to buy the company's gadgets to get access to its high quality software, and vice versa. But the FaceTime decision appears to be an acknowledgment by Apple that there are competitive benefits to letting non-Apple customers use its software products, according to industry analysts.

'Apple seems to be more willing than it has been historically to open up some of its services outside of its [hardware] ecosystem as a way to drive adoption, and also as a way to compete more effectively against other large scale tech players such as Facebook and Google,' said Tom Forte, senior research analyst at DA Davidson. Zoom's success during the pandemic may also have shown Apple the revenue potential of an open and overhauled FaceTime, Forte added.

Beyond that, the move could be designed to help with Apple's antitrust woes. 'It puts them in a better light from a regulatory perspective,' said Angelo Zino, senior equity analyst at CFRA Research. 'The more inclined they are to opening up the ecosystem to other external parties, the better they look.'

But there are still limits to how far Apple may go in the direction of openness — limits perhaps best exemplified by another one of the company's apps, iMessage.

iMessage is beloved by iPhone users thanks to its wide range of features that go beyond traditional SMS messaging, including the ability to react to text messages and to see when your friends are typing. The app also uses end-to-end encryption so there is no way for Apple, or anyone else, to view users' conversations.

Recently, Google has tried to replicate some iMessage features, suggesting that many Android users — who far outnumber iPhone users globally — would be all too eager to gain access to Apple's little blue text bubbles.

And yet, for the most part, analysts say Android users shouldn't hold their breath for a non-Apple version of iMessage, both because of the competitive landscape and the power of iMessage in selling Apple products.

'Apple is taking a very pragmatic view on what apps it extends beyond Apple devices,' said Geoff Blaber, CEO of CCS Insight. 'FaceTime faces greater competitive pressure from video conferencing rivals and has more utility if it's available across platforms. The same isn't the case for iMessage which is a deep part of the Apple experience and the 'continuity' between iPhone, iPad and Mac.'

Apple does still face competition to iMessage, not just from Google but also increasingly from Facebook-owned WhatsApp. Apple has been working to make iMessage more closely mirror social media platforms to better compete with WhatsApp.

But WhatsApp still has one major leg up on iMessage: It's available across a range of devices, making it a default choice for people who want to communicate across operating systems.

Just as Apple's decision to wait more than a year into the pandemic to expand FaceTime access may have caused it to miss out on the opportunity to become the platform of choice for virtual family dinners and work meetings, keeping iMessage as an iPhone-only software risks keeping it from becoming a default cross-device messaging app.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 481397

Reported Deaths: 9395
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32996486
Hinds30973586
DeSoto30491353
Jackson23650348
Rankin21267368
Lee14867220
Madison14145271
Jones13365226
Forrest13125238
Lauderdale11538305
Lowndes10418176
Lamar10184130
Pearl River9055219
Lafayette8218137
Hancock7501112
Washington7033150
Oktibbeha6937124
Monroe6491161
Neshoba6463201
Warren6439163
Pontotoc626593
Panola6219126
Bolivar6105144
Marshall6102121
Union573086
Pike5590136
Alcorn536090
Lincoln5297131
George470072
Scott456096
Leflore4468140
Prentiss445277
Tippah443680
Itawamba4430100
Adams4403116
Tate4351101
Simpson4324112
Wayne431566
Copiah431087
Yazoo423086
Covington414792
Sunflower4137104
Marion4087104
Leake397186
Coahoma394298
Newton368775
Grenada3553104
Stone350659
Tishomingo334689
Attala324886
Jasper313762
Winston303591
Clay295273
Chickasaw286665
Clarke280290
Calhoun265140
Holmes261887
Smith249549
Yalobusha220547
Tallahatchie218850
Walthall210558
Greene207845
Lawrence206033
Perry199353
Amite198152
Webster195942
Noxubee178239
Montgomery172054
Jefferson Davis167642
Carroll161937
Tunica152734
Benton142035
Kemper138440
Claiborne126634
Choctaw126326
Humphreys126337
Franklin116628
Quitman103626
Wilkinson101536
Jefferson88833
Sharkey62820
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 781915

Reported Deaths: 13798
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1109621748
Mobile706071213
Madison49359617
Baldwin36054485
Shelby35933311
Tuscaloosa33540540
Montgomery32996673
Lee22337218
Calhoun20935400
Morgan19666329
Etowah18890454
Marshall17575274
Houston16598377
St. Clair15287298
Limestone14442184
Cullman14441252
Elmore14299259
Lauderdale13395278
Talladega12781234
DeKalb12102233
Walker10495328
Autauga9611135
Blount9595154
Jackson9293152
Coffee8764174
Dale8485171
Colbert8448180
Tallapoosa6557177
Escambia6541117
Covington6409165
Chilton6314142
Russell600655
Franklin5744101
Chambers5350133
Marion4748116
Dallas4672185
Clarke459177
Pike458895
Geneva4333116
Winston420292
Lawrence4099108
Bibb405680
Barbour342969
Marengo324783
Monroe316652
Butler316088
Randolph302855
Pickens300673
Henry299657
Hale290483
Cherokee286752
Fayette276473
Washington245048
Crenshaw236768
Clay226264
Cleburne225750
Macon218057
Lamar192541
Conecuh180146
Lowndes170758
Coosa167533
Wilcox159636
Bullock148642
Perry136336
Sumter124136
Greene120542
Choctaw73326
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Fall has started off exactly as you would have anticipated and it looks like we should have a number of dry days still ahead, but this isn’t a permanent switch, because heat is pegged to return.
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