HomePod Firmware Reveals iPhone 8 Design and Facial Recognition

Exclusive iPhone 8 renders and other details have already been emerged into the Internet web, as Apple expected to unveil a bold new design that is sleeker and more refined than anything we’ve seen before. Rumors has it that Apple could replace or complement the Touch ID fingerprint scanner with a brand new facial recognition technology. And today iPhone 8’s bezel-less design and Pearl ID info have been accidentally leaked by Apple via HomePod firmware. Here’s everything you need to know about.

Indeed, it’s more than difficult to keep up with not only Apple’s hardware-based products but also the underlying firmware which powers them. Las week, Apple released the firmware of its upcoming smart speaker, the HomePod, which gave us an early insight into the firmware which will power its new product, showing us that it will essentially run a version of iOS. Developer Steven Troughton-Smith provided some feedback on that firmware, but it’s also now transpired that it gives us an insight into potential iPhone 8 features, including all but existence of facial recognition APIs and the final design of the front of the device.

Patents and previous speculations already hinted at facial recognition for the iPhone 8. While the facial recognition isn’t anything very new, but Steve found references to infra-red face unlock in BiometricKit, the framework behind Touch ID. Codenamed Pearl ID, the feature should let you unlock your next iPhone in the dark, even if you’re looking at your phone from a weird angle with your face partially blocked.

Apple’s HomePod won;t actually make it to market until December of this year, but again, Apple has likely unintentionally, given an early preview of its underlying firmware before then. The same firmware release maps across to iOS 11.0.2. Now there’s been plenty of speculation about Apple potentially removing Touch ID on iPhone 8 in favor of facial recognition using new camera technology.

While APIs within the HomePod firmware make numerous references to that type of tech and functionality derived from the included BiometricKit framework. The included APIs within seem to reference very much everything that is required for facial detection to work on that new device. For instance, Apple has APIs available for detecting when a face is in view and the information that is passed back to the underlying system from the detected face.

If not, there are also APIs available in BiometricKit which also detects multiple faces in view, and whether or not those faces are deemed to be too close to the camera or if they are usable. If all of this is true, that should be quite a neat replacement for Touch ID, and if Apple wants to replace it with something else, it has to be at least as accurate and fast as Touch ID. The main concern with facial recognition is that you have to hold your phone in front of your face in a brightly lit room.

Although the firmware indicates that the iPhone 8 is identified as “D22.” The HomePod firmware code confirms that the next iPhone will feature infrared face detection that has been discussed already. The face recognition technology Apple using allows you to unlock your phone via the camera.

    What iPhone 8 will look like based on Apple’s design leak.

Apple also seems to be referencing the new infrared functionality as “Pearl ID”, likely as a replacement to Touch ID, and there’s a small stunning little glyph (shown in the top image) views an icon of what is presumed to be an iPhone 8 – or D22 as its referenced internally – with the cute looking cut-out at the upper portion of the screen for edge-to-edge bezel-less experience. You can also find this icon in the Apple Pay framework. If confirms previous leaks and the cutout at the top, but this time it’s coming straight from Apple’s servers.

All interesting stuff and all leading to the overall excitement that is the iPhone 8. Apple is very much currently in the process of distributing developer builds of iOS 11 with iPhone 8 expected to be released in September of this year.

You may remember that the MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar also leaked in the Apple Pay framework for macOS. If Apple follows its usual pattern, the company’s next iPhone models in early Sept. With the latest accidental leak now pretty much confirms front bezel-less design and facial recognition coming to iPhone 8.

(source: Steven Troughton-Smith [Twitter])

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