Apple has filed for, or been granted patents, involving controlling Macs and iPads with gaze detection. But a newly granted patent (number 11,106,265) for “attention detection service” puts a new spin on this. It would power down your devices when you quit looking at them.
About the patent
In the patent data, Apple says that mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads, and Mac laptops are typically designed to operate from a mobile power source such as a battery. This is instead of or in addition to operating from a fixed power source such as a wall power outlet.
While devices that are plugged into the wall outlet such as desktop Macs may not have as critical a need to conserve energy, such devices may wish to reduce energy usage for other reasons. For example, energy consumption is often correlated with an increase in thermal energy that needs to be removed from the device. Inefficient energy consumption can cause higher thermal energy in the system, requiring more cooling to extract the thermal energy.
Apple’s solution is an attention detection service that will check to see if you’re paying attention to a device. If not, it may power down to permit reduced energy consumption.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “In an embodiment, a device may include an attention detection service. The attention detection service may monitor various peripheral devices in the device for indications that a user is paying attention to the device. Various clients may register for notification of attention detection and attention lost (attention no longer detected) events, or may poll the service for the events. If a user is not paying attention to the device, it may be possible to take various actions to permit reduced energy consumption.”