WebRTC Interoperability browser bugbears

Apple Finally Gets WebRTC. Why Are We So Happy? ;)

Posted On July 3, 2017 by Chip Wilcox in Blog, Ecosystem, Media

I awoke on the morning of 7 June 2017 to read the news that Apple was nearly ready to bring support for WebRTC to the Safari desktop web browser and Safari on iOS 11.

I suspect that many people wonder what Temasys has to say about this turn of events. However, it’s summertime, and I have also been on vacation for the last two weeks. Writing while sleeping just is not my strong point.

It’s also been rather nice to sit back and read what everyone else has to say about this milestone in the journey of WebRTC. Here are some posts that you might like, though I’m sure there are others worth reading, that I’ve missed.

Now that the dust has settled a bit, let’s start by saying this: Dear Apple. Finally!

Apple Finally Gets WebRTC 2017
The Apple’s Now Part of the Tree

Apple Finally Gets WebRTC. We’re Happy.

Back in April 2016, the signs appeared. It looked like something was in the works at Apple. Among others, NoJitter published a post entitled “Apple Jumps On the WebRTC Bandwagon,” back then. It’s a good post, though the burning question remained as to just how much longer we’d have to wait. With Apple, one never knows.

Now we’re clear. Apple finally gets WebRTC. The versions of Safari iOS and Safari OSX web browsers that will apparently support WebRTC are planned for release in the fall of 2017. That’s still a few months away. Feature sets have been known to change in weeks or days, not just months, but we’re really keeping our fingers (and toes) crossed.

Under the hood, Apple still has some work to do. Screensharing isn’t available yet (Apple apparently hasn’t figured out the security part of it), and while getUserMedia is available on Safari iOS, it’s is not on WebViews. This means there is no getUserMedia on Chrome iOS. Given Apple’s release schedule, we think these things may not come along for another year. Finally, WebRTC in Safari only has support for the H264 video codec and no signs that VP8 support is coming. Some would say that is to be expected.

Still, it’s all a big step in the right direction, and we hope Apple will keep on going.

Temasys Works with Safari iOS and OSX, Too!

Some parties seem very excited about the fact their technology “already” works with the new Safari for iOS and OSX. Others have issued press releases stating that they now provide “plugin-free” support for iOS 11 and Apple Safari.

Apple supporting WebRTC really is a big deal. However, the fact is that it reduces the ability for companies to differentiate in terms of the platforms they support with WebRTC.

Temasys has also gotten access to early builds of the new browser and iOS. It took a day, but we are happy to confirm that there is “WebRTC inside,” and all is well. The WebRTC-enabled Safari iOS and Safari Mac are fully compatible with the Temasys Platform for WebRTC.

It sort of bugs me to have to say all this. Ensuring that we support these new capabilities with the Temasys Platform and our SDKs is the only reasonable response to this turn of events. So, for the record, this is our “Me too!” in response to other peoples’ PR.

It also begs the question, “Who are the real winners, here?”

Safari Mac is heading towards being on par with Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Besides nearly solving the equal footing issue, we think the winners are the app developers and service providers who previously had to encourage the use of a plug-in (like ours), and end users loyal to Safari who have thus far missed out on using WebRTC, entirely.

When it all comes together, we are a few steps closer to living in a world where anyone can use (Web)RTC. That’s the way it should be, and it makes us very happy.

WebRTC Plugin ≠ Temasys

We have been very pleased to offer an excellent “stop-gap” solution for anyone who wants to support WebRTC in Apple Safari Mac and Microsoft Internet Explorer, since 2014. We are as proud of our WebRTC Plugin, now, as we were back then.

At the same time, we’ve always said we wanted the need for a WebRTC Plugin to go away. The irony of having to use a plugin to use WebRTC is not lost on us, at all. Today we’re one step closer to getting what we all really want.

For Microsoft Internet Explorer users, it’s a different story. Internet Explorer is still a significant portion of the desktop web browser market. There are still not a lot of Microsoft Edge users out there. Even with Microsoft’s efforts to bring ORTC and WebRTC support into Edge, it has its fair share of issues.

While Apple’s adding WebRTC support to Safari iOS and Safari Mac is a good thing and another step in the right direction for WebRTC, there are still some rows to hoe. Making it possible for any web browser on iOS to use WebRTC is an example of one, mentioned above.

For now, it appears that our WebRTC Plugin is still relevant, though it has an indeterminate shelf life. Temasys remains committed to supporting the WebRTC Plugin, for now. That said, Temasys is much more than just the purveyor of a very good WebRTC Plugin.

The Main Thing Is Still The Main Thing

My favorite quote from Steven Covey is, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

“What’s Temasys’ main thing?”

Over the past few years, Temasys has worked hard to build and grow our business as a Communications Platform as a Service for Embedded Real-Time Communications. Temasys empowers developers by making it easy to embed real-time communications in any app, on any device, at any scale. We’re doing that with an amazing Platform which supports almost any use case one can think of.

While we love being renowned for our WebRTC Plugin, we are also extremely happy with the success we’ve had with the Temasys Platform, and that’s where we’ll continue to focus our business.

If you’d like to find out more about the Temasys Platform as a Service for Embedded Real-Time Communications (or our wonderful WebRTC Plugin), you can check that out right here.

Are you a developer building WebRTC-powered apps? We are launching our developer alliance program in Q3 2017! Get early access to new features and the latest SDKs and APIs for Real-Time Communications, powered by Temasys! To find out more, contact me, directly!

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