Continuity Camera brings iPhone optics to macOS | Cult of Mac

Continuity Camera brings iPhone optics to macOS

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Craig using Camera Continuity on macOS
It might look a little silly, but Camera Continuity could be a huge win for video calls AND video streaming
Photo: Apple
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Continuity Camera, a new feature coming in iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, will upgrade video calls by bringing the iPhone’s pristine camera to the Mac.

“With Continuity Camera, you can use iPhone as your webcam,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of software engineering, during Monday’s live-streamed WWDC22 keynote. “It’s powered by the advanced capabilities of the iPhone camera system, letting you do things that were never before possible with a webcam.”

Continuity Camera looks clever and convenient

For the last few years, Apple has been deepening the integration between its devices in new and unique ways. With the rise in remote work, and an ever-increasing number of video calls, having a great camera on your computer has become a bit of a “must-have.” (Apple’s own Studio Display even took fire for having a mediocre camera.)

While a handful of third-party apps and accessories on the market allow you to connect external cameras to your Mac, none look as convenient or as streamlined as Apple’s new Continuity Camera feature.

When joining or starting a video call with your Mac, your computer can sense if your iPhone is nearby and available to serve as a webcam. Assuming it is, your Mac automatically begins streaming video directly from your Phone’s rear camera to your video calling software. And the feature is not just limited to FaceTime. According to Apple, it works with Microsoft Teams, Webex and more.

A top-down view to show your desk

Video Call with top down camera continuity
If the top-down view with Continuity Camera works half as well as Apple’s demo appeared, it will be a massively useful tool.
Photo: Apple

Another interesting feature of Continuity Camera is that it can use the iPhone’s ultra-wide camera to create a “top-down” view without needing to move or adjust the camera.

Using a combination of image processing and lens correction — and a to-be-released accessory from Belkin (and others soon enough) to prop the phone on the edge of your monitor — people on video calls can see you and your desk. Then, simply swap cameras in software (probably).

Continuity Camera supports Center Stage and Portrait mode and works without any additional software or wires, Apple said. The feature is expected to release as part of macOS Ventura and iOS 16 this fall.