iOS 15 SharePlay Targets Facebook

image credit: WWDC 2021

published by Chand Bellur
June 22, 2021 at 4:45 p.m.
  • iOS 14 added new features to control location tracking, undermining Facebook’s business model.
  • Apple’s upcoming mobile operating system further threatens Facebook’s bottom line, with new SharePlay features transforming FaceTime and Messages into a social media hub.
  • iOS 15 adds a new Focus feature designed to minimize interruptions during working hours, which may decrease Facebook usage.
  • The new Shared With You feature enables iPhone users to share articles, photos, and playlists over Messages, making them less inclined to communicate over Facebook.

iOS 15 Competes With Facebook

Although Facebook doesn’t create smartphones, tablets, or computers, the company is home to 2.85 billion users. These customers (or products) use Facebook to connect with people at least once a month. As they share and view content created by other users, the company profits from highly targeted ads. Facebook engages in surveillance capitalism more than any corporation on the planet. It’s their business model.

Facebook’s vulture-like approach makes it an easy target for Apple’s magnanimous high road. Apple doesn’t collect and use personal data in the same way as Facebook. The Cupertino tech giant sells devices, not souls.

Apple is already leveraging privacy against Facebook. Beyond brand awareness, iOS 14.5 introduced new features informing users of surveillance, mainly with Location Services. Periodically, Apple’s current mobile operating system displays messages informing users when a specific app monitors their location while offering an easy way to opt out.

Apple’s new features worked as expected. An overwhelming 96% of iOS users decided to forgo persistent and pervasive location tracking. Mark Zuckerberg’s appeal to consumers seems to have fallen on deaf ears. The social media company invested in an ad campaign to sway users to opt-in to better quality advertising experiences. Facebook pleads with users through in-app messaging. The campaign also generates positive, “good for small business” public relations for a company constantly under Congressional scrutiny. Consumers don’t seem to agree that surveillance is in their best interests.

iOS 15 Turns Messages and FaceTime into Facebook Killers

Apple’s attempts at social media have been remarkably successful. Its customers use Messages far more than Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other communications platform. With iOS 15, Apple will transform Messages and FaceTime into new social experiences rivaling Facebook and other social media providers.

SharePlay is critical to Apple’s new social push. It enables users to share media, such as TV shows, movies, and music, within FaceTime. With SharePlay, distant users can enjoy watching a synchronized movie as if they were in the same room.

Although this idea is nothing new, Apple’s tightly integrated and robust ecosystem offers a unique experience. Viewers can beam SharePlay content to Apple TV, with a concurrent FaceTime video chat on an iPhone or other Apple device. Despite the iPhone’s diminutive screen, iOS 15 makes the most of SharePlay video experiences by embedding a small chat window within the larger video player. The smaller video window can also operate alongside a group FaceTime chat or Messages conversation.

People watch on-demand content. SharePlay restores social interaction in an age where we consume content on asynchronous schedules. Facebook also has its Portal app and device; however, it simply can’t offer the level of ecosystem sophistication and unity as Apple’s solution. Facebook can’t provide privacy either. The average consumer will likely favor Apple over Facebook in this competition.

A new API for SharePlay allows developers to integrate their media apps into the ecosystem. Disney+, HBO MAX, NBA, twitch, TikTok, MasterClass, ESPN+, Paramount+ and PlutoTV have all adopted Apple’s new technology, with the final iOS 15 release still months away.

Messages becomes smarter and more social in iOS 15. When users share content over Messages, Apple’s upcoming mobile operating system integrates it into other apps. If your friend shares a playlist and you like it, it ends up in the “Shared With You” section of Apple Music. A shared news article populates a similar region in Apple News. The pattern extends to multiple content types and apps.

Taking iOS 14’s privacy features into account, iOS 15 seems like the death knell for Facebook. It gets even worse, as Apple will launch a new Focus feature to keep users on task instead of on social media.

iOS 15 Focus Features Keep Users Away from Facebook

Workers face numerous distractions in the digital age. My phone seems to accumulate more notifications than I can comprehend. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to block some notifications, contacts, and apps, while allowing only the essentials?

iOS 15 adds the ability to create a user-defined “Focus”. These filters only allow some messages to come through while delaying others. For example, a work Focus would only allow notifications from work-related apps and contacts.

The feature’s brilliance is in its execution. iOS 15 is intelligent enough to suggest which people and apps have access, based on the type of focus you wish to create. This enables Apple to assault Facebook’s bottom line further, as many will default to recommended contacts and apps. Without Facebook notifications, iOS users can concentrate on work and save the cat photos for later. Of course, at home, they’re more likely to watch a movie together with friends and family using SharePlay, than rely on Facebook’s stale offerings.

iOS 15 Content Creation Features Undermine Facebook

iOS 15 expands on Apple’s automated content creation tools. These are an extension of technology that first debuted with iMovie years ago. With iOS 15, the Photos app’s Memories feature gains enhanced automated content creation tools. Users can now create slide-show videos that synchronize in time with music and match the mood and pace of the song.

Facebook has a similar feature, also dubbed Memories. iOS users can share Memories on Facebook too. It’s just that Apple’s content creation tools will keep people off Facebook, even if they choose to share their creation on the social media platform.

Is Facebook Doomed?

With almost three billion monthly active users, it would take a catastrophe to sink Facebook. That said, disasters occur. The most likely scenario is that Facebook loses its luster. Most young people are losing interest in the outdated social media platform. Facebook isn’t cool anymore, but still essential for some. A competitor can create social media that’s hip and effective. It looks like Apple already has.

Facebook is a second-wave social media company. The third wave is already here, and Facebook struggles to stay relevant in an age where TikTok rapidly gains traction. Although social media, such as archaic electronic bulletin board services (BBS) date back to the late 1970s, the first wave comprised organizations like MySpace and Friendster. Remember how huge MySpace was? Numerous TV shows and movies referenced MySpace, and it hosted 76 million monthly active users at its peak. Then it just disappeared. The same can happen to Facebook.

Stay-at-home advisories over the past year benefit Facebook and other tech corporations. The company gained many more users, as homebound individuals reached out to catch up with long-lost friends and meet new people. As society opens up, fewer people are spending time on Facebook. Apple’s upcoming operating system casts a shadow on the social media giant’s future.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.