The iPhone 8 could mute notifications when you’re looking at the screen

Last week, Apple accidentally released an early build of the HomePod firmware. Guilherme Rambo has been digging around a library file to spot strings and references that hint at future products and features. In particular, he just noticed that the next iPhone will be able to detect when you’re looking at the screen so that it can silence your notifications.

I looked around the HomePod firmware and found the same references to this “supportsAttenuatingTonesForAttentionDetected” class.

Based on previous leaks, Apple has been working on some mysterious face detection technology. This technology codenamed “Pearl ID” should replace the Touch ID sensor altogether.

It seems like the next flagship iPhone is going to feature two front-facing cameras as well as an infrared sensor. This way, you could unlock your phone using your face even if you’re in the dark, even if you’re not looking directly at your phone.

Today’s news is a bit surprising as it means that your iPhone is going to track your face at all times. That’s how Apple can silence notifications and vibrations if you’re looking at your phone because a banner should be enough.

But Apple could use face tracking for many different things. For instance, you could unlock your iPhone by just looking at your notifications on the lock screen. When you’re ready to unlock it, your iPhone will already know that you’re looking at your phone so it should be instantaneous.

Similarly, password managers, banking apps, file management apps and other sensitive apps have been using Touch ID as an additional security layer. If your phone is always aware that you’re looking at it, apps could skip this screen entirely. Or iOS could lock itself automatically if you stop looking at your phone.

Rumor has it that Apple wanted to embed the fingerprint sensor in the display itself. But reports say that Apple couldn’t produce tens of millions of devices with this technology. That’s why Apple is switching things up and focusing on facial recognition.

Apple should be announcing three different iPhone models in September. The company should announce two more powerful phones that are going to look more or less like the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus.

But the most interesting device is a brand new super premium phone — it could be called the iPhone 8, the iPhone Pro or something different. It’s supposedly going to have a taller screen that is going to completely fill the front of the device, except for the speaker, camera and sensors at the top. It’s going to be interesting to see how Apple is going to tweak iOS for this new device.