Apple seeded Release Candidates for iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1 to developers on Monday, adding the long-awaited SharePlay feature. The release candidates for watchOS 8.1 and tvOS 15.1 were also seeded. This means the beta testing process for all of these is almost over.
In addition, developers also got access to the macOS Monterey Release Candidate. Apple promised to introduce the final version to Mac users on October 25.
iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1 (finally) include SharePlay
Release candidates are the last step in beta testing. They’re what Apple used to call golden masters, and give beta testers an opportunity to test the final version of operating systems before they’re introduced to the general public.
But sometimes nasty bugs turn up in release candidates. If so, there’ll be RC2 in a few days.
While not available to everyone, these last betas do give the world the first look at the release notes for the upcoming operating systems. The ones for the iOS version say, “iOS 15.1 adds SharePlay, an entirely new way to have shared experiences with family and friends in FaceTime. This release also adds the ability to capture ProRes video using iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, as well as verifiable COVID-19 vaccination cards in Apple Wallet, and includes other features and bug fixes for your iPhone.”
The release notes for tablet users have some overlap, saying, “iPadOS 15.1 adds SharePlay, an entirely new way to have experiences with family and friends in FaceTime. This release also adds Live Text support to the Camera app, and includes other features, and bug fixes for your iPad.”
SharePlay was unveiled at Apple’s WWDC Developers Conference in June. It allows users to enjoy music, movies, TV shows, etc. together during a FaceTime call. This is an open API, and it potentially supports not just Apple TV+ but also Disney+, Hulu, Paramount+ and other streaming services.
Candidates, not final versions
The iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1, watchOS 8.1, tvOS 15.1, and macOS Monterey release candidates are currently only for registered and paying members of the Apple Developer Program. But public versions should be out soon.
As noted, macOS Monterey will definitely launch on Monday, Oct. 25. It’s possible the others will too.