Image adds weight to facial-recognition unlock rumours.
The internet is a-buzz right now with news garnered from a very uncharacteristic Apple foible, one that is so unlike the company that it smells intentional. It seems that months of speculation about the features and upgrades to the anticipated iPhone 8 (name to be determined) have been confirmed after an internal firmware update was accidentally made public online.
An engineer accidentally (or not, this could just be the best free marketing tool Apple has deployed ever since an employee “oopsed” and left a prototype for the iPhone 4 in a bar) uploaded the new firmware for HomePod to a public server, where other developers swooped in on it like vultures to begin picking it apart. The findings from their discovery both confirm and reject certain previous rumors.
In the confirmed category, it seems that the screen will have the rumored edge-to-edge face and an absent home button. The only disruption to the sleek screen is a “notch” at the top, confirming rumors of something exciting regarding a front-facing camera. The current theories speak to Apple’s use of facial recognition to unlock the phone, and that speculation is supported by the missing home button. Industry insiders have long supported the idea that Apple is abandoning the Touch ID sensor, or at least moving it under the glass rather than housing it in a separate button.
Sensor or no sensor?
But speaking of rejected rumors, a story in The Guardian on this leak denies the use of a fingerprint sensor under the screen. That’s hopefully not the case, as consumers have been clamoring for biometric log-in on things like sensitive accounts and online shopping or payment. Incorporating the fingerprint into the screen rather than in a button the closes out the app would have made that more feasible.
Reading the clues
The firmware update that spilled the beans had a few other surprising references, like “tap to wake,” which makes sense if there’s no home button, as well as a lot of augmented reality and optics tools. There were also some references to “home indicator” and screen size where the resolution changes, pointing to a home or back button that only appears when the user wants it.
Of course, there’s always the most anticipated question: what is this thing going to be called?!