Apple today revealed that it will no longer provide FaceTime group chat functionality in the initial shipping version of iOS 12.
“Group FaceTime has been removed from the initial release of iOS 12 and will ship in a future software update later this fall,” Apple notes in the release notes for iOS 12 Beta 7, which is heading out to private beta testers today.
FaceTime group chat was announced with much fanfare at Apple’s WWDC 2012 conference in June. In typical Apple fashion, the feature is coming late to the party, given that virtually all other chat solutions have support group chats, many for several years. But it also provides a unique visual display, with undulating tiles representing each user in the chat.
“It’s beautiful,” Apple’s Craig Federighi said during an on-stage demonstration of the feature. “With big, gorgeous tiles right up front [for the participants that are current interacting]. Down at the bottom, there’s an area we call the roster that contains everybody else.”
Whether it’s beautiful—I find the weaving and bobbing to be distracting—is open to debate. But that it is now delayed is a fact. And with that, it becomes yet another example of a creeping problem for Apple where it can never seem to deliver on its promises on time.
As a Microsoft fan, I understand completely.