It's the advertiser's dream: a phone that constantly follows your gaze and checks if you're paying attention — this could give a whole new perspective on what works and what doesn't in a given ad, app, or website. And while it also sounds like an element cut out from a dystopian young adult novel for being too corny, it appears Apple is planning on making it a part of our very own future.
That is, that leaked HomePod
firmware from a couple of weeks back just keeps on giving. Developer Guilherme Rambo is one of the many people patiently combing through obscure lines of code from a piece of software which was never meant to go public, and giving us one piece of iPhone 8 news
. And now, he seems to have revealed another possible feature of the upcoming Apple flagship: tracking if the user's looking at the device.
What you're looking at above are a pair of strings referencing something called an "Attention Awareness Observer," which appears to control the notification sound volume. And given recent rumors of the iPhone 8's 3D facial recognition tech
, a gaze tracking feature makes almost perfect sense — provided it doesn't cause too much battery drain, of course.
Now, the intro above is a bit misleading — so far, there's no indication that Apple has any intention of letting app developers access to the feature. It may well choose to keep it locked and use it for low-level OS purposes like this only, but given the unofficial nature of the findings, it's a bit too early to say. If it does, however, it would go a long way towards keeping the inevitable complaints from privacy advocates at bay. Regardless, here's hoping the entire feature can be disabled if it actually makes its way to the device.