iPhone 8: Apple's HomePod speaker appears to reveal key features of new handset's design

Major clues appear to be hiding in some mistakenly released code

Andrew Griffin
Monday 31 July 2017 13:49 BST

Apple's own smart speaker appears to have given away its upcoming iPhone.

At least two major features of the iPhone 8 have been revealed by the software for its HomePod speaker, according to developers.

The new iPhone – which will be revealed next month but might not be widely available until near Christmas – will have a display that goes all the way to the edges and special infrared scanners so that it can see people's faces and let them into their phone.

Those scanners appear to have been revealed by a whole set of software that's referred to in the code as BKFaceDetect, along with other similar names. BK likely stands for BiometricKit, since Apple tends to use the "Kit" name for pieces of software that developers can access.

That same software seems to make reference to infrared imagery, indicating that at least one of the cameras used will rely on the technology. That will allow the phone to see in the dark and check more accurately that the right person is using the phone.

The HomePod firmware also seems to include a picture of a phone – which looks strangely like what is rumoured for the iPhone 8, or Pro. It does not include the bezel that currently wraps around the phone, and has a design precisely in keeping with the rumoured look, including the small gap at the top.

It's possible of course that Apple has simply added a generic phone in place of something more specific, and that the image doesn't show the upcoming design. But it tallies with all of the leaks, and the company could have chosen to use an existing image instead.

Apple will reveal the iPhone 8, as well as perhaps two other models, at an event in September, but the premium version of the phone might not be widely available until December.

The HomePod software appears to have been made available by accident, and developers took it before it was removed again. As such, the software doesn't have all of the usual restrictions to keep people from poking around inside of the code and seeing things within it.

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