Report: Apple quietly reveals support for WebRTC

It appears that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is adding support for WebRTC to WebKit, the engine that powers its Safari browser. The company updated its WebKit website to add WebRTC to a list of features that are "in development."

The Google (NASDAQ: GOOG)-backed WebRTC provides the ability to add live audio and video streaming into Web and mobile applications essentially for free and without forcing a user to download a plug-in or install an application. Well-known services that use WebRTC include Google Hangouts and Snapchat, according to Disruptive Analysis.

Lantre Barr, CEO and founder of WebRTC specialist Blacc Spot Media, writes that as the fight for WebRTC adoption in Apple's Safari browser started to heat up, a few industry participants decided to give Apple a helping hand. That group, which included Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), started an initiative to bring WebRTC to WebKit. "We can't say for sure the impact this initiative had on Apple, but it has been clear to those who closely follow the industry that the company has been quietly integrating WebRTC for some time now and we have been anticipating that WebRTC would make its way into the WebKit eventually," Barr writes.

A No Jitter commenter noted that the news of Apple support was actually the subject of a tweet back in February, but others said it had thus far drawn little press. Others point out that "in development" doesn't mean Apple will necessarily ship it in Safari, but the move is understandably encouraging for the WebRTC community.

According to Technavio, the Americas held the largest market share in the WebRTC market in 2015 with nearly 47 percent of the share, led by a growing number of social network users and their need for real-time communication. According to research analyst Amit Sharma of Technavio, most operators in the Americas use IMS and VoLTE, so they're investing heavily in WebRTC technologies.

Back in 2014, Ericsson's research and development (R&D) division said it had released the only WebRTC browser for iOS, as it revealed it was making the browser open source to boost development. The company said at the time that it was unleashing its Bowser WebRTC browser and its underlying OpenWebRTC framework to the open community to accelerate innovation in the standard.

The Register notes that reports emerged last fall that Apple was looking to hire WebRTC developers, foreshadowing moves to adopt the open video and voice chat standard for web browsers.

Apple representatives did not respond to FierceWirelessTech's request for comment.

For more:
- see this No Jitter post
- see this Register article

Related articles:
WebRTC is finding a home in North America, especially on mobile devices
NTT tests information sharing using WebSocket, WebRTC
Report: More than 2B WebRTC users by 2019
WebRTC faces uphill struggle

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