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Apple has informed developers in the Developer Program today via email that SharePlay will be removed from all beta versions of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, tvOS 15, as well as macOS Monterey. The company did not provide any reasons for doing so. However, this particular action is reminiscent of another event that happened a long time ago, which resulted in embarrassing consequences for Apple at that point in time.
This decision would not have been an easy one for Apple. Via email, Cupertino informed developers tonight that SharePlay would be removed from all future beta versions and that this feature would not be part of the first official release of iOS 15. This was one feature that Apple was particularly proud of: in the middle of a FaceTime call, participants can enjoy media content, such as TV shows, movies, or music simultaneously.
Postponement does not equal to cancellation
This sounds to be more of a postponement of SharePlay that Apple has communicated via the announcement. "We're excited by the great enthusiasm we've seen in the developer community for SharePlay, and we can't wait to bring it to users so they can experience their apps with their friends and family in a whole new way," Apple mentioned in its developer update.
In reality, it seems to be a precautionary measure. In our initial preview, SharePlay seemed to be very unreliable. Streams didn't begin reliably, and sometimes the feature showed up as unavailable despite having all of the settings set properly. Hence, it does look as though not everything is running smoothly for SharePlay.
Apple probably wants to avoid a similar disaster that took place in 2008 with MobileMe. Back then, Apple launched its paid push and sync service to ensure that data on both iPhones and Macs are always in sync with each other. However, many things didn't work as planned, and the service was scrapped, only to be completely replaced by today's version of iCloud in 2011. With the amount of public beta testing that Apple offers today, the company is at a far better position to track software bugs before they hit the mass market. Better late than never, we say!
However, we can assume that Apple will make the service available to its users via an update before the end of this year - after all of its niggling bugs have been fixed, of course.