Apple is delaying the release FaceTime group chats feature, which was originally scheduled to arrive with iOS 12 release. Now, Apple has removed the group video calling feature in the latest iOS 12 beta 7, which was released today. The removal of Group FaceTime feature was spotted by Apple developer Guilherme Rambo on Twitter.
“Group FaceTime has been removed from the initial release of iOS 12,” reads a note to developers from Apple. The note posted by Rambo says the feature will “ship in a future software update later this fall”. Group FaceTime was announced as one of the major new features coming to iOS with the release of iOS 12 later this year.
The feature was first showcased at WWDC 2018, Apple’s annual developer conference, and it will allow 32 participants in a single video call. The video calling system will show tiles of people’s faces, and the person initiating the video call can manually select people to highlight them in the main screen. This is not the first time that Apple has delayed a feature that it claimed to be a big new addition to its ecosystem of devices and operating systems powering those devices.
Apple previously delayed the introduction of AirPlay 2, which was initially said to arrive with the release of iOS 11. However, Apple released the feature several months later when it issued iOS 11.4 as an update fixing some of the known bugs in its mobile operating system.
The iMessage and FaceTime are two of the most widely used Apple services. With FaceTime, Apple is already late to group video chats and this delay could only hurt the company further. There are a number of video calling applications that let their users make group video calls.
Watch: Apple iOS 12 Major Features
Facebook-owned WhatsApp, one of the most widely messaging applications, gained support for group video calling recently and it supports up to four people in a single call. Messenger, Facebook’s own messaging platform also supports group video calling. There are other alternatives like Microsoft’s Skype, which supports group video calling with up to nine participants, and up to 25 participants with a paid subscription.
When Group FaceTime becomes official, it will be the application with support for maximum number of participants. However, that support for a huge number of participants seems to be coming at a cost – delay. If you were planning to use Group FaceTime extensively then you can only hope that the feature does not come with an extended delay.