In an unusual move for Apple, the company announced a product that they weren’t ready to ship right after. In June at WWDC, Apple showed off the HomePod, the Siri version of Amazon Echo and Google Home, but revealed that their smart speaker wouldn’t ship until December. It’s a decision that’s coming back to haunt them this week, as firmware that Apple posted for the speaker happened to contain some information about their unannounced, probably super expensive iPhone 8.
We’ll admit right here that we’re calling it the iPhone 8 because that seems to be the accepted term for it right now — with the phone probably representing a new premium tier for Apple (or a one-off 10th anniversary celebration), they’ll likely call it something else. Whatever it’s called, it’s rumored to be stuffed with every bit of cutting-edge tech that Apple can muster, and from that HomePod firmware, we now know that one of those features will be facial recognition.
Developer Steven Troughton-Smith was one of a few who dove into that firmware and found a lot of information pertaining to the design of the new phone. Within BiometricKit, he saw references to an IR camera for facial recognition, of the sort we now see on PCs that work with Windows Hello — while facial recognition doesn’t always work quickly, using IR sensors means facial recognition can still work in the dark. Interestingly, Troughton-Smith saw nothing about fingerprint recognition, meaning the rumored under-the-display sensor won’t make it into this phone. It seems that there will be a virtual home button, but nothing else.
The bezel-less iPhone image can be extracted from Payment_glyph_phone-D22.caar in PassKitUIFoundation.framework with the code pictured pic.twitter.com/HAyDO0E931
— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) July 31, 2017
The physical home button is gone, because the firmware information confirms that the the new phone will have almost no bezels. Troughton-Smith found an outline representing the new phone, and it certainly leaves no room for a physical home button. But, there still will be a thin cut-out on top, which will likely hold at least the front-facing camera and the IR camera. The display looks to be higher resolution, too, at 2436 x 1125.
There are loads of other tidbits that Troughton-Smith has dropped on his Twitter account, so you should head over and check them out if you want the full lowdown on the upcoming premium iPhone. Fellow developer Guilherme Rambo has been doing the same.