The iPhone 8 will detect when you're looking at it, leaked code suggests

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 after another. 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.

Related phones

iPhone X
  • Display 5.8 inches 2436 x 1125 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Dual camera) 7 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A11 Bionic 3GB RAM
  • Storage 256GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2716 mAh
  • OS iOS 13.x


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