The iOS app HEARD. Photo: AFP
A new application called HEARD lets users record moments that happened up to five minutes beforehand.
The application, launched on iOS on June 20, works by constantly recording the surrounding audio into a rotating 12-second, 30-second, one-minute or five-minute buffer; meaning that every 12 seconds, 30 seconds, one minute or five minutes, the previous recording is deleted and a new recording commences.
If within that time period something is uttered that the user wishes to record for future listening then they simply tap the application and the audio file is saved; do nothing and it is erased.
The idea behind the application, according to the App Store blurb, is to capture moments that we would have otherwise missed; as the blurb states "How many times have you been in a meeting, playing with the kids or just hanging out with friends and family...and wished you could have recorded what just happened? Unless you're a mind reader, there's never been a way to see into the future and anticipate all those save-worthy sound bites. Until now."
The app can run in the background of the phone and recorded clips can be played back at any time and even associated with certain images on the camera roll. The app is free to download and initially comes with a 12-second buffer; an in-app purchase of $1.99 allows this time to be extended to 30 seconds, one minute or five minutes.
While the application might sound ideal for events during which there are likely to be snippets of audio that one would not want to miss -- weddings or children's parties, for example -- many tech blogs are commenting on the legal issues that this application presents.
These issues revolve around the fact that while HEARD is far from the only recording app on the App Store, and iOS devices even come with a built-in Voice Memo Recorder, it is often illegal to record someone else without their being aware of it and having granted their permission.
Download HEARD for free via the App Store at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/heard/id615420427?mt=8