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Apple’s reputation as Silicon Valley’s most secretive company is slowly crumbling.
The company’s nightmarish year started when the Outline obtained an internal recording at Apple of a meeting ironically titled, “Stopping Leaking—Keeping Confidential at Apple.” In it, Apple security directors go over the extreme methods they use to prevent people from releasing information about upcoming products. Those measures appear to have fallen short last week when a massive leak revealed information about the company’s most cherished secret: the upcoming iPhone 8.
The blunder was discovered by two developers who found a publicly released internal software update to the upcoming HomePod. The firmware is full of secrets about the smart speaker and its compatible devices, including the iPhone 8. According to the Guardian, the software was meant for Apple eyes only, making it the biggest leak to trickle out of Cupertino since photos of the Touch Bar were released prior to the MacBook Pro announcement.
In many ways, the leak itself is more interesting than the info it contains. For all the attention it’s gotten, the “D22” leak doesn’t show us anything we didn’t already know or suspect about the iPhone 8.
In fact, the most notable inclusion in the firmware is a somewhat cartoonish silhouette of a phone we believe to be the upcoming flagship. It also looks exactly like an LG G6 for what it’s worth.
Here's a higher resolution version: pic.twitter.com/p60xeEn7Ie— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) July 31, 2017
There isn’t much we can take from the image, and what we can doesn’t surprise us. The leak suggests a bezel-free device with an edge-to-edge screen—a feature that should be mandatory at this point. And you can also see the cutout at the top for sensors and a front-facing camera, which all but debunks rumors of an embedded selfie cam.
Another predictable change is the death of Apple’s iconic home button. There has been a lot of speculation about where Apple will put its fingerprint sensor on the upcoming flagship. Many fear it will go on the back of the phone like the Galaxy S8 or LG G6, while other rumors suggest it will be transferred to the side button, like the Sony Xperia Z5. The most interesting rumor claims Apple wants to keep TouchID where it is but move it underneath the screen.
However, a bit more digging in the HomePod firmware leads us to believe the iPhone 8 may not have TouchID at all and could rely entirely on 3D face-scanning, or what’s nicknamed “Pearl ID” in the firmware. The new feature will reportedly be able to scan a user’s face even when the phone lies flat on a table. It is also expected to work with Apple Pay.
The codename for the face recognition feature is "Pearl ID". Codename for the bezel-less phone is "D22"— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) July 31, 2017
But it’s the smaller bits of information that are arguably the most intriguing pieces of the leak. According to the firmware, the iPhone 8 will record in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, twice that of the iPhone 7 Plus. This should help fast-moving subjects appear smoother and more lifelike. The camera will also get a depth sensor for better selfies and creating augmented reality content, an emerging field Apple CEO Tim Cook is very excited about. And then there’s this feature called “SmartCam,” which will reportedly adjust camera settings based on a scene it detects. It’s not clear how this differs from automatic mode, but it certainly has our attention.
Of course, these leaks only confirm a few of the rumored features coming to the upcoming iPhone 8. There will be endless speculation between now and the device’s official unveiling. Still, the surprising error means we’ll be going into September knowing more about an upcoming iPhone than ever before.
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.