WebRTC World Feature Article

June 03, 2014

Apple Brings In-browser, Native Calling to Macs, Safari

Monday, June 2, kicked off WWDC, Apple’s developer conference where it announced iOS 8, Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, its new Swift programming language and more. One announcement in particular probably caught the eye of anyone familiar with WebRTC – Apple introduced integration between Macs and mobile devices, and users can now seamlessly call right from Macs and websites on the Safari browser.

That’s right. The functionality that WebRTC promises – in-browser calling directly from a website – is now possible in one of the key browsers that has been quiet as WebRTC develops. Users can now send calls and text messages, including non-iMessage texts, from Macs to smartphones. They can click on a phone number link in Safari and Yosemite will place the call, and they can send text messages from the desktop and iPad.

To demonstrate the functionality, Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering, called one of Apple’s newest employees, Dr. Dre.

There was a common theme in the different WWDC announcements Monday – users don’t want to go to multiple places or applications. We want a single interface and a single way to search for different apps/functions. The Spotlight update highlighted this, as users can now use the search tool as basically a huge, collective search through the Internet, contacts, documents and more. The same mentality should be kept in mind for WebRTC developers and companies looking to consider the real time communications technology; users want a seamless multichannel experience, and they want to be able to call you directly from your website on their browser or device.

Apple is now seamlessly integrating Macs to iPhones and iPads, emphasizing the importance of being able to deliver a seamless experience for users on the different devices and platforms they use for different purposes.

Another interesting component Apple introduced is context-sensitive quick type, so the technology can detect whether someone is asking, “Do you want to go to dinner or a movie?” and understand three probably answers are “dinner,” “movie” or “not sure.” It also can pick up how you talk to different contacts – a meeting can be “canceled” if you’re talking to a coworker or boss, or it can be “a snoozer” if you’re talking to your best friend. It picks up how you talk to different people, which is an interesting step forward for what it means to serve multichannel experiences. Consumers will soon expect this type of contextual understanding from technology, applications and companies as the norm. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle


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