It’s basically tradition at this point that details about the new iPhone will inevitably leak well before the launch of the device, but this time it is absolutely Apple‘s fault.
According to some cheeky information included in new firmware, the iPhone 8 will include infrared facial recognition and a new all-screen design without a bezel.
Basically, this info was pushed out to developers in the firmware data for the HomePod – Apple’s new wireless speaker. The firmware includes references to previously unknown devices, including the iPhone 8. This was almost certainly an accident on Apple’s part, and they’re usually much more careful about this sort of stuff. In fact, the HomePod firmware wasn’t even supposed to be released until later year, so it’s possible that the release was accidental.
Or maybe it’s the notoriously secretive company playing 12-dimensional marketing chess. Maybe.
I can confirm reports that HomePod’s firmware reveals the existence of upcoming iPhone’s infra-red face unlock in BiometricKit and elsewhere pic.twitter.com/yLsgCx7OTZ
— Steve Troughton-Smith (Archived) (@stroughtonsmith) July 31, 2017
The new design – which appears to follow the lead of many current Android handsets – appears to ditch the famous home button and opt for a screen which covers the whole handset. Intrepid developers worked that one out based on the fact that there is literally an icon in the firmware assets which show exactly that.
Me too. New bezel-less form factor as well pic.twitter.com/Y0RrSOk2OO
— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) July 31, 2017
This isn’t entirely a surprise – Apple watchers have long anticipated that the company would go for an all-screen design at some point to compete with Samsung‘s Galaxy range, and other flagship edge-to-edge Android designs.
Given that the home button is missing, it’s entirely likely that the infrared facial recognition will replace the fingerprint scanner which has been present over the past few iterations of the iPhone. Infrared scanning is better than previous versions of ‘face unlocking’ as it perceives depth – meaning you won’t just be able to unlock your mate’s phone with a photo you downloaded off his Facebook.
Welp. Guess we’ll have to find out for sure when Apple announces it for real.