Apple firmware may tip iPhone 8 front design, face unlock feature

Code found in Apple's early software release for the HomePod may share details of the new iPhone set for debut in September. The leak gels well with previous rumors.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor

(Image: Guilherme Rambo/@_inside)

Apple may have just given up big clues about its next flagship smartphone. Early release firmware for Apple's upcoming HomePod speaker hints at new features that could be included on the iPhone 8 in September.

First spotted by developer Steven Troughton-Smith, the HomePod firmware code seemingly confirms infrared face detection that has been rumored to be featured on the next iPhone.

The infrared face detection is believed to replace Touch ID fingerprint authentication, allowing users to unlock their device via the camera. HomePod's code makes mention of the infrared feature under Biometric kit, Touch ID's framework.

Previously, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg reported 3D facial detection will be present on the iPhone 8. Code found within the HomePod firmware specifically mentions detection of multiple faces and faces being too close or too far from the camera.

The codename for the iPhone 8 is "D22." Within the HomePod firmware, a glyph looks very similar to the design rumors for the iPhone 8, with a near bezel-less design and notch cut out over the top of the earpiece for calling and sensors. The image (via MacRumors) was hidden within the framework for Apple Pay.

The handset will mark the tenth-anniversary of the iPhone line, and it will be accompanied alongside an iPhone 7S. According to reports, the iPhone 7S will feature minor specification upgrade from 2016's iPhone 7.

Over the weekend, an alleged packaging insert for the iPhone 8's SIM removal tool was shared on Chinese microblogging service Sina Weibo. The general device design seemingly aligns in both leaked images.

Kuo, an often-correct analyst, wrote in early July the full-screen OLED iPhone 8 will have a virtual Home button but won't support fingerprint recognition because of the "technical challenges" of under-display scanning.

Image: Weibo

Of course, Apple could change things as we get closer to the iPhone 8's rumored launch in September, so it's worth taking rumors with a healthy dose of salt.

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