Forward-looking: If you have ever had a video call with someone, you have surely noticed that something doesn’t feel quite right about it. Even though you are looking right at them, you are not looking right at them.
When people talk face-to-face, they are used to looking each other in the eyes. During a FaceTime call, each person is gazing at the screen instead of the camera, so their eyes are not really meeting. It all feels slightly awkward and makes each person appear sleepy-eyed. Apple plans to fix that with one of the features reportedly seen in the upcoming iOS 13.
Haven’t tested this yet, but if Apple uses some dark magic to move my gaze to seem like I’m staring at the camera and not at the screen I will be flabbergasted. (New in beta 3!) pic.twitter.com/jzavLl1zts
— Mike Rundle (@flyosity) July 2, 2019
App developer Mike Rundle discovered a new setting in the third build of the iOS 13 beta called FaceTime Attention Correction. The description of this setting says that it adjusts your eye contact with the camera while using FaceTime. If it works, this would be some pretty ingenious tech sorcery.
So Rundle tried it out with his friend Will Sigmon and found that it does indeed work like magic. The difference is subtle but definitely noticeable.
Guys – “FaceTime Attention Correction” in iOS 13 beta 3 is wild.
— Will Sigmon (@WSig) July 2, 2019
“Looking at him on-screen (not at the camera) produces a picture of me looking dead at his eyes like I was staring at the camera,” Rundle tweeted. “This is insane.”
He should not be that surprised. Rundle predicted this technology back in 2017 when he listed it as an example of “incredible software enhancements to look for in the years to come — Advanced image-manipulation algorithms that make sure FaceTime calls always show your eyes looking at the other person.”
Unfortunately, it looks like the feature is only going to be available for iPhone XS and XS Max. Of course, just because it’s in the beta does not mean it will make the final cut, but if it does, we can expect it to be a standard feature in iPhones from here on out.