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Apple SharePlay delayed until late 2021, will skip first iOS 15 release

Apple has confirmed that the SharePlay ‘watch party’ style tech will not launch with the main iOS 15 operating system later this year, as originally planned.

In a post on the Apple developer’s site, the company said the feature, which allows Apple users to tune into perfectly synced video and audio content together within FaceTime calls, is being pulled from developer betas of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, tvOS 15 and macOS Monterey.

Apple says the tech, which also enables screen sharing, will be enabled once again in beta versions after the full release of the operating systems this autumn, before a consumer rollout later on.

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However, the company hasn’t said why it is removing the feature for a launch later in iOS 15.1 and iOS 15.2 before the end of 2021. In the post (via 9to5Mac), the company writes:

“SharePlay has been disabled for use in the developer beta 6 versions of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and tvOS 15, and will be disabled in the upcoming beta 6 release of macOS Monterey. SharePlay will also be disabled for use in their initial releases this fall. SharePlay will be enabled for use again in future developer beta releases and will launch to the public in software updates later this fall. Your team can continue developing SharePlay support for your apps by installing this development profile.

“We’re thrilled with the high level of enthusiasm we’ve seen from the developer community for SharePlay, and we can’t wait to bring it to users so that they can experience your apps with their friends and family in a whole new way.

“We appreciate how many teams have been hard at work building SharePlay experiences and to ensure there is no interruption in your development, we have provided a SharePlay Development Profile which will enable successful creation and reception of GroupSessions via the Group Activities API.”

Apple is relying on third-party app developers to adopt the tech for their media apps as it seeks to have a wide-ranging functionality with the top streaming services. The likes of Disney Plus have already introduced Watch Party features in response to the pandemic and the new inability to watch in-person with friends and family.

Apple often delays key iOS features until slightly after the release cycle, so this isn’t out of the ordinary, but it does take some lustre away from the Apple’s autumn software updates.

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