Apple has a new development framework that can be used to turn your iPhone into an autonomous pet-tracking camera. According to documentation on Apple’s website, developers can use pet-tracking features with motorized phone stands to capture and follow your pet around your house while you’re not home.
As noted by Apple, developers can achieve this using a new framework called DockKit, which can create “photo and video experiences” while an iPhone is mounted on a motorized stand. From there, devs can then use something called the Animal Body Pose API (application programming interface), which is capable of identifying and tracking animals with your phone’s camera. It’s able to identify a pet’s pose, too, including if your pet is sitting down, standing up, or begging for food.
By combining DockKit with Animal Body Pose API, Apple says devs can create apps that “automatically track subjects in live video across a 360-degree field of view, take direct control of the stand to customize framing, directly control the motors, and provide your own inference model for tracking other objects.” To be clear, pet-tracking isn’t an official iOS 17 feature that’s getting shipped by Apple, but the company is giving developers the tools they need to create and launch their own iPhone-powered pet cams. Apple plans on getting into more detail about all this in an upcoming session at its Worldwide Developers Conference.
Although swiveling iPhone holders have been around for quite some time now, building the feature directly into Apple’s ecosystem means that you might not be forced to use a proprietary app in order for the mount you’re using to function properly. And it seems Apple has broader ambitions for how to use your iPhone while docked: it’s also rolling out a new docking feature called StandBy, which turns your iPhone into a smart home-like display when it’s charging and tilted sideways.