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31 July 2017

HomePod firmware may have just confirmed two major facts about iPhone 8

Apple's iPhone 7 Plus.
Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus.

Image: Lili Sams/Mashable

Apple’s HomePod isn’t even available for purchase yet, and it’s already leaking secrets about the company’s upcoming iPhone. 

According to developer Steve Troughton-Smith. whose findings were reported on by 9to5Mac, the firmware for the smart speaker all but confirms the new iPhone will be almost all screen in the front and will have face-unlocking capabilities. 

If this sounds like old news to you, it’s probably because you’ve heard tons of rumors about these features. To summarize, Apple is likely to launch three iPhone models, two of which be evolutionary upgrades of the iPhone 7, and one (probably called iPhone 8 or iPhone X) with a larger screen-to-body ratio, no home button, and some sort of 3D scanner which will use face recognition to unlock the phone. 

The difference is that those are all rumors, while Troughton-Smith’s findings are samples of code released by Apple. While still not definitive, they make it a lot more likely that these features will indeed make it into the next iPhone. 

So what did he find? Two things: One is a snippet of code that refers to iPhone’s infra-red, face recognition-based unlocking capabilities. No iPhone has anything like that yet, so it’s probably coming in the next one. 

Even better, it’s possible to extract a stylized image of the new iPhone from the code. Though it’s not very detailed, it all but confirms the all-screen iPhone. 

Another developer, Guilherme Rambo, posted a higher-resolution version — check it out below. 

HomePod’s firmware holds secrets about the smart speaker, too. For example, it’s possible that HomePod will have a dot matrix screen that could show some basic info, an icon or two, or even text. 

Other than that, Troughton-Smith said HomePod’s operating system is basically the same as iOS, and is generally “not that exciting.”

HomePod was unveiled during Apple’s annual WWDC conference in June, but will not become available until December. 

The next iPhone, on the other hand, is yet to be revealed (likely in September) and is much more of a mystery. Of course, Apple can change its plans before launch, but these new findings are the first semi-official glimpses into the most anticipated smartphone of the year. 

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