Since its iPhone 4 leak debacle, Apple has taken extra special care to allow supply chain rumours to do all the talking in the lead up to its big annual smartphone reveal.
But now the California company appears to have unveiled all of its key plans for this year’s iPhone 8, thanks to the release of some obscure software, built for its forthcoming HomePod speaker. The code appears to confirm a slew of rumours, leaks and gossip, as well as giving us a first-hand look at what to expect in September.
Here are five key things you need to know.
1) Edge–to–edge design
It’s long been thought that Apple would wholly redesign the iPhone in this, the device’s tenth year. And now animations buried in the HomePod code and found by eagle–eyed developer Steven Troughton-Smith, appear to confirm everything we’ve heard so far.
They show two devices: one in the style of an old–school iPhone 5s, the other, a bezel–free, edge–to–edge screen phone, with no home button and a cut-out at the top for an ear piece, camera and infrared sensor. That’s just like the renders we’ve been seeing all summer from a number of sources.
2) Face Detect
When the HomePod software was released, one of the first features discovered was Face Detect. This is thought to be the name for Apple’s facial recognition software.
Further digging has confirmed that it will be able to recognise different expressions, from smiles to grimaces, utilising infrared and 3D tech to take it beyond the simplistic and hackable facial scanning smarts found in Samsung’s Galaxy S8.
3) No Touch ID
Troughton-Smith says that in his extensive searches, he’s found no reference to Touch ID being placed behind the iPhone 8’s screen.
With case leaks suggesting there won’t be a fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone, that means the iPhone 8 will rely on Face Detect for security, marking a major shift from a feature that has been the cornerstone of the iPhone since 2013. Now, Apple Pay will be reliant on a different form of security that consumers may take some time to get used to.
With no physical home button, Apple appears to be switching to a new tap–to–wake system, as referenced in the HomePod software. This would require a double tap to see the screen and any notifications, instead of pressing the home button, as has been the case with older models.
A feature already found in Lumia phones, this would make the iPhone feel a lot more futuristic and a lot less clunky.
5) Split status bar
The top of the iPhone 8’s screen is split by the device’s earpiece and camera. But a special status bar, constantly referred to in the code, looks set to make things look neat and tidy, with the main display not impinging on this area.
Troughton-Smith thinks this may even be interactive, allowing users to delve into further details on their data, battery life and other key device information.