Apple Clips video app adds landscape videos, Dolby HDR and Pencil support, but no lidar yet


Apple Clips adds landscape support, and full-length portrait videos. Plus a lot of stickers.


You may have no idea what Apple Clips is, or maybe you use it all the time. The video-editing app has been living in parallel with iMovie for years: While it’s full of interesting effects and tricks, it could only shoot and edit square videos. But a new update hitting today could make it far more useful as an iMovie alternative. It also takes advantage of the iPhone 12’s HDR video recording.

Clips 3.0 adds other aspect ratios for videos, adding 4:3 and 16:9 in landscape or portrait, along with embedded support for videos recorded with Dolby HDR on iPhone 12 and 12 Pro phones. There are other added stickers and effects, but those features alone could put Clips a step ahead of iMovie on the video-editing front for iPhone and iPad.

Clips is iOS-only at the moment, and while video projects can be shared to other Clips users on other iPhones or iPads to collaborate, those project files can’t be imported into iMovie (but the finished video could be exported to edit further somewhere else).

Apple is looking to keep Clips education-focused, adding some iPad-targeted support for landscape-mode use when working with a keyboard-connected case. It also adds handwriting recognition with Pencil to jot captions in stickers, which turn to text. (Oddly, there aren’t that many iPadOS apps that do this.)

One thing Clips 3.0 doesn’t support yet is lidar, the rear depth-sensing tech on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro. Clips was the first Apple app to use TrueDepth camera on the iPhone X for AR effects in videos, and Clips makes heavy use of Animoji and Memoji. It would make sense for…