With September drawing ever closer, Apple has finally started sharing public betas for their new software versions, and after testing macOS Ventura for a while, here are some of the new features that we love the most and that you'll be able to enjoy once the update drops.
This was one of the biggest features announced on stage, and it certainly has been a very useful one for us. Continuity Camera allows for users to switch the video (and microphone, even) input source from the built-in webcam on mac computers to the rear cameras on a compatible iPhone. This is awesome, because the rear cameras on your iPhone are certainly much better than the webcam on your mac laptop.
In addition to that, there's the ability to turn on Portrait mode as well as Studio Light. This results in not only a sharper image, but also provides a much nicer visual effect with a blurred-out background as well as enhanced lighting on a user's face.
This can be used in FaceTime, Photo Booth, Zoom calls and more. Here's a comparison of how I look in Photobooth on my MacBook Pro's webcam (left) versus using Continuity Camera with my iPhone 13 Pro Max (right). Pardon the different angles, since the iPhone's cameras do sit above the laptop's webcam, but it's very clear that there's a huge bump in terms of sharpness and detail when it comes to the shot taken with the iPhone.
This also brings Centre Stage functionality, so that's nice. What's more, there's even a new Desk Mode feature that uses the wide-angle lens to show what a user has on their desk. It might not be quite as generally relevant, but if you're using this to showcase a product or something physical to other people on calls, this certainly is a useful feature.
This is Apple's new multitasking UI, and while at first glance, it appears to be more useful on iPads that support it, it's actually quite convenient for mac computers as well.
Of particular note would be the ability to group apps together, so if you're working on editing a video, for example, but you want to be able to view the script at the same time, you can group both your video editing software as well as your Notes app or whatever software you're using for scripting, so that when you open one, the other shows up as well.
Open windows also show up on the left-hand side, which makes it easy to find the exact window you need if you're like us and have multiple windows with multiple tabs open.
Spotlight has been improved as well, with the ability to preview files and search results and search for images locally on device as well as on the web. While the image search isn't quite as intelligent yet, it's still relatively convenient.
For example, perhaps I'd like to share a few shots I took while I was at a baseball game. All I have to do is type "baseball" into the search field, and scroll down to take a look at all the "baseball"-related images and videos pulled up. It's smart enough to relate images and videos of baseball players and the field to the term, instead of just showing me the images I took of an actual baseball, so that's good.
Rich results are nice as well. Searching for a singer, for example, pulls up info, but also content like their albums on Apple Music, or even their social media accounts for easy access.
If you use FaceTime a lot to keep in touch with your family and friends, this is one that you'll absolutely love. Previously, if we wanted to switch between FaceTime on an iPhone and on an iPad or a Mac computer, the only way you could do so was by hanging up and then re-calling the person.
Now, all you have to do is bring the first device close to the other device, and there'll be a pop-up asking if you want to hand the call over to the second device. If you missed it, no worries, there'll be a constant notification on nearby devices that you can tap to start the handover process. It's incredibly convenient, and although the feature was relatively buggy during the initial beta versions, it has now gotten much better after the latest third public betas of iPadOS 16 and iOS 16 were released.
There are features like Freeform that aren't even here yet, and we absolutely can't wait. If you're itching to try out all these new features too, you can check them out on Apple's website, where the public beta is also available.