As much as Apple improves the performance and consumption of different devices, it is of no use if in the end we leave them on when not in use. IPhones and iPads lock their screens after a few minutes and Macs go to sleep the same, but there is still a lot of room for improvement in this area.

More precision and more reliability for better battery consumption

All Apple devices go to sleep after a while. The key to the phrase here is “time”. Because? Because this means that the decision to fall asleep or turn off the screen does not depend as directly as we would like on our use of the device, but on some type of interaction. It will have happened to all of us when reading on a Mac, the screen suddenly darkens and we have to move the mouse to wake it up.

We saw the first change in this behavior with the iPhone X. Thanks to the Face ID system, the iPhone was able to detect when we were looking at the screen and while we were doing it, keep it always on. If we were to divert our attention, a 30 second countdown would start before it was turned off. Now, Apple wants to go further in the evolution of these systems.

Artificial intelligence is called upon to control even the smallest processes, such as putting our devices to sleep.

The “Attention detection service” patent explores the different sensors that can power the system. Touchscreen, cameras, buttons, various haptic sensors, keyboards, external sensors, mouse, biometric sensors or accelerometers, to name a few examples, can provide data that the system will then use to determine reliably whether or not it is time to go to rest.

It might seem like a minor detail, but fine-tuning when devices go to sleep can contribute to substantial improvements in battery consumption. All this, on top of that, without having to forcibly interact with the device to prevent it from falling asleep. A Mac could, for example, know if we are in front of it thanks to our Apple Watch or if we are leaning on the keyboard (without pressing any key) and act accordingly. Something similar could happen with Apple TV, which could pause playback if it detects that we are not watching.

When we hear phrases like “artificial intelligence is the future” we can think of big apps, but little details like our iPad that turns off just as we put it on the table, but not while we read it, also falls under the scope of AI. And this is just one of the many examples we can find in our devices, which are slowly changing the old ways of making decisions for more complex, more reliable and more precise processes. Aren’t you looking at me Well, I am extinguished.

Image | Priscilla Du Preez