HomePod leak re­veals de­tails of next iPhone

It’s like the iPhone 4 all over again, writes Michael Si­mon

Macworld - - Contents -

I f you were fol­low­ing Ap­ple back in 2010, you re­mem­ber the in­fa­mous iPhone 4 leak. The hand­set that in­tro­duced the world to FaceTime, the Retina dis­play, and a stun­ning de­sign that lives on to this day in the iPhone SE was plas­tered all over Giz­modo some two months be­fore its for­mal

in­tro­duc­tion. Even in the age of ru­mour sites and Red­dit, it was a rare red-faced mo­ment for Ap­ple.

And from the looks of it, it has hap­pened again. No, the iPhone 8 wasn’t left in a Cal­i­for­nia bar by an ab­sent-minded Ap­ple em­ployee, but a ton of in­for­ma­tion about the next iPhone was in­ad­ver­tently leaked by an un­wit­ting engi­neer. A pre-re­lease ver­sion of the HomePod firmware was ac­ci­den­tally up­loaded to a pub­lic server re­cently, and nat­u­rally, developers quickly down­loaded it and start­ing dig­ging for clues. And boy were there a lot of them.

1. The bezels are shrink­ing, big time

The very ex­is­tence of the iPhone 8 in an ‘S’ year tells us that it will be a rad­i­cal change from the cur­rent iPhone de­sign, but Ap­ple has all but con­firmed just how dif­fer­ent it will look. Ac­cord­ing to a scal­able vec­tor im­age spot­ted by de­vel­oper Steven Troughton-Smith, the new hand­set de­sign matches up with the ru­mours of an all-screen front that dis­penses of the Home but­ton. The pic­ture isn’t very de­tailed, but it does show a de­sign some­what rem­i­nis­cent of the LG G6, but with uni­form skinny bezels all around.

2. There will be a camera notch

One of the defin­ing – and likely con­tro­ver­sial – as­pects of the new iPhone ap­pears to be a notch at the top of the screen for the camera and sen­sors. And Ap­ple isn’t try­ing to hide it. In the iPhone 8 icon dis­cov­ered in­side the firmware, the crude draw­ing

clearly shows a notch jut­ting into the top of the screen. We’ve seen a sim­i­lar de­sign in the up­com­ing Es­sen­tial phone, though Ap­ple’s is far more pro­nounced.

Purists might balk at the seem­ingly un-Ap­ple-like de­ci­sion, but it might not be so bad in prac­tice. Troughton-Smith found ref­er­ences to a new ‘split’ sta­tus bar that would pre­sum­ably place the bat­tery and Wi-Fi icons around the notch, and he also notes that the sta­tus bar “seems a lot more com­plex and pow­er­ful in de­sign, maybe even in­ter­ac­tive”.

3. The screen will be even bet­ter

Ever since the iPhone 4 in­tro­duced us to the pix­el­less world of Retina dis­plays, nearly ev­ery Ap­ple dis­play has shifted to the eye-friendly stan­dard (sorry MacBook Air fans). But now it seems as though the iPhone will up the ante again. Dur­ing his code spelunk­ing, Troughton-Smith found ref­er­ences to a new screen res­o­lu­tion of 2436x1125 with a ro­bust a 521ppi pixel den­sity. The would rep­re­sent a healthy bump from the 1334x750 and 1920x1080 res­o­lu­tions in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, re­spec­tively.

4. AR is a big deal

Ap­ple is killing it when it comes to aug­mented re­al­ity. While its ARKit plat­form was only just re­leased at WWDC in June, developers have

al­ready made some truly amaz­ing things with it, and it’s clear that Ap­ple has big plans for AR. But it will be the iPhone 8 that fully un­locks its po­ten­tial. We’ve al­ready read ru­mours of a 3D laser sys­tem and a depth-sens­ing camera, but Troughton-Smith also spot­ted a cu­ri­ous ref­er­ence to ‘ARFaceAn­chor’ in the HomePod firmware. This sug­gests that there will be spe­cific AR fea­tures tai­lored for the iPhone 8.

5. Touch ID likely out, Face ID def­i­nitely in

Ru­mours have al­ready sug­gested that Touch ID will be go­ing away in the iPhone 8, and TroughtonSmith’s prob­ing seem­ingly con­firms it. Not only did he not find a sin­gle men­tion of the un­der-thedis­play ‘ul­tra­sound’ Touch ID we were all hop­ing for, he dis­cov­ered a trove of ’BKFaceDe­tect’ ref­er­ences in­side the Bio­met­ricKit frame­work, al­lud­ing to a new sys­tem of un­lock­ing the phone us­ing our mugs rather than our fin­gers. Based on his find­ings, Troughton-Smith has sur­mised that the new sys­tem, code named Pearl ID, will support mul­ti­ple faces and use an in­frared sen­sor for low-light sit­u­a­tions. And there’s also a ‘pass­book. pay­ment. con­tact­less in­ter­face’ ref­er­ence sug­gest­ing Ap­ple Pay support as well.

6. A tap will wake the screen

With­out a home but­ton on the front, we’re go­ing to have a harder time un­lock­ing our iPhones when they’re rest­ing on a ta­ble, but Ap­ple has ap­par­ently solved that prob­lem. Troughton-Smith spot­ted a

ref­er­ence to tap-to-wake, mean­ing you’ll be able to tap or dou­ble-tap on the screen to bring it to life. An­droid phones have en­joyed the fea­ture for years, but it would be a new – and welcome – ad­di­tion to the iPhone.

7. The home but­ton goes dig­i­tal

With­out a phys­i­cal home but­ton, Ap­ple will need to go the An­droid route and make a vir­tual one on the screen to aid with nav­i­ga­tion. So it’s no sur­prise that Troughton-Smith found re­peated ref­er­ences to a ‘home in­di­ca­tor’ that will seem­ingly only ap­pear when you need it. What’s more, the pre­vi­ously ru­moured ‘func­tion area’ looks to be le­git. The res­o­lu­tion Troughton-Smith un­earthed sug­gests apps will only take up a 5.15in por­tion of the ru­moured 5.8in screen, pre­sum­ably leav­ing an area at the bot­tom for but­tons and short­cuts.

A vir­tual home but­ton like this con­cept will likely re­place the phys­i­cal one

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