From secure biometric authentication to fun features like the new Animoji, Apple’s Face ID — and the technology behind it — is incredible. But beyond its most discussed abilities, the platform might even have some other secret talents.
The TrueDepth Camera, which powers Apple’s new facial recognition system, relies on a suite of 3D and infrared sensors. The system is advanced enough to know if someone is currently looking at the device — a capability that Apple has harnessed to help the iPhone X intelligently save battery life, according to Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.
“If you’re reading something, the phone can periodically check, ‘Oh, someone’s still looking at me’, so don’t go dim the phone away,” Federighi told Mashable on Tuesday. “But if no one is looking at the phone, the phone can be more aggressive about dimming down and saving power.”
Current model iPhones, including the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, stay fully lit for an interval of time between inputs — usually a tap on the display. Depending on the device’s settings, the screen will be switched off entirely after a short period of time. On the new iPhone X, however, the TrueDepth Camera will be able to know if a user is viewing the display. Just a glance at the screen will keep the display lit — as the iPhone X will check every 30 seconds to see where the user is currently facing. “Now we’re able to use your eyes as that virtual tap,” Federighi added.
It’s just one feature that could translate into longer battery life for iPhone X users. The other big addition, of course, being the iPhone X’s 2,716 mAh battery. According to Apple, the premium OLED’s bigger battery will translate into about two additional hours of juice under normal usage, compared to the iPhone 7.
Of course, that’s just Apple’s estimates. It’s currently not clear just how much of an impact the bigger battery and energy-saving features will have on total battery life. With the iPhone X’s debut inching closer to us, however, we won’t have to wait long to find out.
The iPhone X officially launches on Friday, Nov. 3 — when it’ll hit store shelves and begin shipping out to customers who have ordered the device.