Apple AAPL -1.15% has released a second version of its beta for iOS 7 and the operating system has learned a few new tricks. One of the most head-turning (pun very intended) is that users can now control certain parts of the user interface by simply tilting their heads certain directions. Yes, the iPhone or iPad watches you.
The feature comes as part of iOS’s built-in accessibility package, seemingly as an option for those with limited body movement to control their devices without actually touching them. It uses the front-facing FaceTime camera to detect the movements, and then the device reacts accordingly.
That said, it took an agonizing hour of testing before I was finally able to figure out how it works, as there isn’t really much as far as instruction goes (the above video notwithstanding). It is an interesting interface idea but it’s not for everyone, in more ways than one: It takes over the traditional touch controls and basically disables them. In addition, it takes some time to navigate. For some, it’s not a problem, but those expecting the relatively quick action that they’re used to from iOS will not have a good time.
Developers that make apps for the disabled or even those that just want to make their apps more friendly to those that have problems with touch devices, it’s an intriguing option. Who knows, maybe the gestures the camera-based gestures will become a standard part of a future version of iOS.
Like the rest of the iOS 7 beta, it’s not something for those who are simply curious about the pre-release operating system. It took me half of Wednesday to figure out how to turn the feature off, and in that time I couldn’t answer calls, texts, or invites on OK Cupid. (Honestly here: I had only one of any of those, but you get the point.)
All in all, though, it’s a neat preview of what iOS may be like in the future, but for now it’s better to stay away and watch videos of the thing in action on the devices of others — like the one above.
No, really, trust me on this one.