Federico Viticci has done some wild things over at MacStories in the past, and he’s back at it again with a new story on iPadOS 17. As Federico explains, iPadOS 17’s support for USB Video Class devices opens up a world of possibilities for iPad users… including finally being able to use a Game Boy Camera for FaceTime video calls.
This is Federico at his craziest best, doing something that no one else in their right mind would ever even think of trying.
On the surface, support for UVC devices within iPadOS 17 means that you can connect external cameras to the iPad for the first time. Federico points out that this also extends to USB capture cards, DSLR adapters, and more.
For starters, I wanted to see if I could play games from my Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck on my iPad Pro’s Retina Display by using an external game capture card. The answer is yes. The capture card I bought is this one by NZXT, which offers an HDMI-in port and a USB-C port that you can use to connect to an iPad Pro. To output video from a Nintendo Switch, I use the excellent Genki Covert Dock Mini; for the Steam Deck, I use Valve’s official dock.
There’s a specific API that developers need to adopt in order to read video input from devices connected via USB. Using an app that’s currently in beta from developer Jingcheng Tang, Federico was able to take advantage of this, in combination with a capture card, to do all kinds of crazy things.
During my tests with UVC devices, I noticed that, just like the FaceTime app can pick up the Studio Display’s webcam when the iPad Pro is connected to it, so it can use other UVC devices’ input as its video source. To prove my point, I plugged a Steam Deck into the capture card, connected it to the iPad Pro, opened FaceTime, and there it was: Elden Ring on FaceTime.
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