Super popular messaging client WhatsApp, now owned by Facebook, is going to receive a big update on iOS in the coming weeks that will introduce a highly anticipated feature. WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton told VentureBeat that the latest version of WhatsApp for iOS will soon support voice calls to other WhatsApp users. Leaked images from December (above) show what the experience may look like on Android, and we suspect the app will be similar on iOS.
As VentureBeat points out, with a little legwork through jailbreaking, iOS users can already place voice calls using WhatsApp. However, the new version for iOS will support it out of the box without any sort of jailbreaking needed. Acton originally said that the feature would be available in a “couple” of weeks before revising that claim and stating “several.” So, perhaps we can safely assume the update is coming within a month or so.
Acton’s comments were made during Facebook’s F8 conference, where Mark Zuckerberg put a big emphasis on the importance of Facebook Messenger and other chat services. A new “Facebook Messenger Platform” initiative brings other messaging clients into the company’s chat client, and the company will also rely on it to power new services for chat with online retailers.
The integration of voice calling into WhatsApp should give Facebook a new edge in competition against Skype. We’ll let you know when the update is available.