FaceTime could be the generic “video call”, but Apple won’t allow it

Chris Burns - Jun 9, 2021, 4:36pm CDT
FaceTime could be the generic “video call”, but Apple won’t allow it

The brand name “FaceTime” could be genericised if Apple were willing to release it to alternate platforms. Here in June of 2021, Apple revealed that FaceTime would soon move just a TINY bit beyond iOS and macOS devices, courtesy of a web browser-based system for the video call platform. Once iOS 15 is out for new iPhones and iPadOS 15 is out for iPad, Windows and Android devices will be able to participate in FaceTime calls.

The limits of this new layer of connectivity are large. Android and Windows users can join a FaceTime call in a web browser, so long as they’ve been invited by someone on an Apple device. Users on Apple devices will be able to create a link that others can tap to join the call. You will not be able to start a FaceTime call if you are an Android or Windows device user.

If you have older relatives and/or friends and have ever participated in a video call before, chances are you’ve heard them refer to said call as FaceTime. They’ll “FaceTime” you, just like they “Google” words on the internet to learn more about them, or put a “Band-Aid” on their wound.

Apple could dominate the world of video calls with relative ease. Allowing FaceTime calls to appear (VIA link, in a very limited way) for Android and Windows users allows the brand to continue its reach beyond iPhone users – more than it’d spread already.

How long do you think it’ll be before FaceTime becomes the new Jell-O, or Flip phone (originally trademarked by Motorola), or Linoleum (coined by Frederick Walton in 1864, maybe the first legally genericized trademark in modern history in 1878), or Apple’s own App Store. Or maybe that’s something Apple wants to avoid – and instead wants to bring FaceTime right up to the edge of brand name ubiquity, without seeing it legally used by the masses for their own products?


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