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One iOS developer discovered numerous references to a face detection system within the BiometricKit framework—the same place where Touch ID fingerprint authentication resides.
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 T-S (@stroughtonsmith) July 31, 2017
The release of this information appears an uncharacteristic misstep from Apple.
TL;DR, even though iOS has a set of #ifdefs to prevent me poking around, this HomePod fw wasn’t meant to be public, thus included everything— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) July 31, 2017
The firmware references a “Pearl” infrared capture on the front-facing camera, which would theoretically enable more reliable authentication compared to light through a camera lens. The feature isn’t a huge surprise: Several other flagship phones already use infrared sensors for iris scanning, including the Samsung Galaxy S8, and most analysts are certain it’s coming to iPhone. Still, this hard evidence is about as good as it gets to confirming a rumor pre-iPhone launch day.
The iOS 11.0.2 firmware for HomePod also includes an image of what some believe is the iPhone 8.
Unfortunately, there really isn’t much to see here—just the blue outline of what could be almost any phone on the market. Still present are the iPhone’s round edges and cutout for a front-facing camera with sensors. What we don’t see is the device’s iconic home button, likely removed to make space for an edge-to-edge display similar to those found on the Galaxy S8 and LG G6.
The iPhone 8 is expected to be unveiled in September and could cost more than $1,000.
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.