The continuity camera was one feature I wasn't expecting to come out of MacOS Ventura. The WWDC presentation demonstrated how the macOS continuity features allows devices to work closer together and hand off calls easily between devices. It then showed that by simply placing your iPhone onto the top of your MacBook screen, using a dedicated clip, your Mac can use the iPhone's powerful rear cameras as a webcam.
We know that Apple's in-built MacBook webcams have been lackluster, up until now, and that the iPhone 13 offers two or three rather impressive cameras. So the logic seemed sound. Using your iPhone means a better quality image, the option of wider lenses as well as portrait mode blurring and CenterStage tracking – all without needing to spend extra money on an external webcam.
Lots of people I spoke to questioned whether they really wanted to attach their phone to their MacBook screen. Especially those with a 13 Pro Max – that's one heavy device to put on the back of your screen. The thing is, all this is missing the point of the feature and I believe it's merely a teaser for something bigger that will be announced in September.
Firstly, the continuity camera isn't really designed to go on top of a MacBook. It's more suited to being mounted on an external monitor – probably one not made by Apple, which is why it wasn't in the demo. But I think the bigger picture doesn't involve a MacBook at all.
While updates to the TVOS 16 were noticeably absent from the presentation I wouldn't be surprised if it too could benefit from the continuity camera. Being able to link the iPhone camera to the Apple TV would suddenly open up the possibility of FaceTime on your TV. A clip could then attach your phone to the top of your TV.
It's not just FaceTime either. Adding the iPhone camera to the Apple TV opens up huge potential for gaming and fitness, with subject tracking. Suddenly the Apple TV takes on a whole new life.
If the continuity camera can connect the iPhone camera to other Apple devices this way, then surely it could also do the same with other devices. What if Apple was planning to release a separate camera module, like the Peloton Guide (opens in new tab)? This could connect using the same continuity technology that links the iPhone to the MacBook and could work with the Apple TV for fitness, gaming and video calls, or also with the MacBook as an external webcam, like the iPhone.
I'd love to see an Apple camera accessory like this and I think its potential for Fitness means it's possible. Apple has shied away from launching peripherals in recent years but I really hope the introduction of the Continuity Camera tech is a sign that is about to change.