Apple has seemingly leaked details of the iPhone 8, showing facial recognition and a full-frontal screen with no home button.
The details were leaked when Apple released the firmware code for its new smart speaker, the HomePod, which is considered Apple’s answer to the Amazon Echo.
A number of developers looked through the code, including Steve Stroughton-Smith, who tweeted that the code confirmed the presence of facial recognition software, something that had been rumoured for some time. Another developer added that he had found a picture of the basic design of the phone, with a full-frontal screen and no bezel.
On the basis of this, graphic designer Benjamin Geskin has created images of what the new iPhone (centre) may look like compared to the iPhone 7 (left) and 7+ (right).
If the iPhone 8 has a full-frontal screen, there will be no room for a home button, which has been used for fingerprint recognition for unlocking the phone and performing functions like Apple Pay.
Apple has reportedly been struggling to work out how to replace the unlocking feature of the home button, for instance using the screen, but this news suggests that the tech giant is attempting to fill the gap with facial recognition.
Bloomberg reported on an anonymous interview with several people close to the project, who stated that speed and accuracy would be key elements of the facial recognition unlocking, and would also work even if the phone was lying flat on a table, not just up close to the user’s face.
According to the same interview, the intention is for the facial scan to become a feature alongside Touch ID, rather than replacing it.
Samsung recently introduced an iris scanner, though this was supposedly able to be tricked by photographs of a person’s eye. Analysts believe that the iPhone facial recognition would be likely to include a 3D sensor, which would protect against tricking the recognition software with photos.
There are a number of rumoured names for the iPhone 8, including the Edition, Pro, or X. The release will coincide with the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone, and will sit alongside an improved iPhone 7 is expected to be ‘radically’ different.