Apple’s HomePod firmware leaks iPhone 8 details

Alex Kidman 1 August 2017 NEWS

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Face detection and a bezel-less screen appear likely for Apple's upcoming iPhone 8.

Apple is notoriously secretive when it comes to new features in its highly popular iPhone line, although in recent years we've seen increasing levels of detail emerge about phones such as the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

While it tries to keep its secrets hidden, Apple also has to cater to the developer community that keeps new and interesting apps flowing to its iOS platform. That's why you can download public betas of iOS 11 and, more recently, why it released an early firmware version of its upcoming Apple HomePod, even though that product won't actually go on sale until December.

As Macrumors reports, developers have been digging around in the HomePod firmware to see what Apple's smart speaker is capable of, only to discover previously unannounced features for the upcoming iPhone 8 (which we now know is called the iPhone X).

For a start, the firmware contains multiple references to biometric identification that refers to "FaceDetect" as a feature for the new phone. It doesn't require too much of a leap of imagination to suggest that this means that the new iPhone will feature facial recognition as an unlock method.

Quite how far Apple will take this feature against its existing Touch ID verification, which is used to unlock Apple Pay, isn't clear. Facial recognition can be an easy and fast way to unlock a system, but it's also usually much easier to fool than a direct enrolled fingerprint. The facial recognition feature may use infrared detection, which has been labelled as "Pearl" within the code.

As for the actual iPhone model, internally it appears that it may be known as "D22", although you shouldn't expect to see that crop up anywhere in Apple's official marketing material.

The firmware also offers up an icon image for the phone that seems to strongly suggest that the iPhone 8 will indeed be a full-frame phone with an almost bezel-less screen, other than at the very top of the phone, which will house the front-facing camera, earpiece and sensors. It's been long rumoured that Apple is trying to drop the front-facing Touch ID-capable home button in favour of a sensor underneath the glass display of the iPhone 8 in order to reduce the bezel and increase the screen size.

It's expected that Apple will announce the iPhone 8, and possibly some lesser iPhone 7s/7s Plus models, in September with October/November availability.

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