Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone 8 will likely remain the talk of the town through the end of this year. Numerous leaks have revealed that the iPhone 8 front design will be different from all of its predecessors. Lending credibility to earlier leaks is a big hint dropped by Apple. The Cupertino company recently released the early firmware for its Siri-enabled smart speaker HomePod. The firmware contains a sketch of what appears to be the iPhone 8 front design. It also sheds light on the new security features.

Apple iPhone 8 Front Design
Image Source: Guilherme Rambo / Twitter (screenshot)

iPhone 8 front design leak: Was it intentional?

HomePod won’t hit the store shelves until December. Developers have discovered references to a face recognition feature in the iPhone that will allow you to unlock the screen and authenticate payments just by looking at the iPhone. The latest HomePod firmware corresponds to iOS 11.0.2. The iPhone 8 front design hidden in the firmware confirms several concepts, including those from iDropNews, were to the point.

App developers Steve Troughton-Smith and Guilherme Rambo discovered a sketch in the HomePod firmware that has an edge-to-edge display. The iPhone 8 is rumored to sport a 5.8-inch OLED display in a form factor similar to the 4.7-inch iPhone 7. The software identifies the iPhone 8 as “D22.” There is no home button on the front, confirming rumors that Apple will ditch the physical home button.

The device has a cutout at the top that houses the front camera, earpiece, iris scanner, and other sensors. An earlier leak by iDropNews suggested that the screen on either side of the cutout will be utilized to show the icons for WiFi, signal strength, battery, and time. A few days ago, SlashLeaks spotted a paper insert showing how to remove the SIM card tray, which also had a similar iPhone 8 front design.

iPhone 8 to have infrared sensor for face detection

Since the image appears in the HomePod firmware, it is highly likely that the design is final and real. The software also contains multiple references to an infrared sensor for facial recognition. The infrared sensor is part of the BiometricKit framework, which houses the TouchID sensor currently. Facial recognition for the iPhone 8 has been rumored for a long time.

New “FaceDetect” methods in the BiometricKit shed light on how the infrared sensor will recognize the user’s face in a variety of conditions, including the face being too far or too close to the camera and the presence of multiple faces in the frame. The “FaceDetect” methods are part of a feature code-named “Pearl ID.” If the iPhone 8 does ship with facial recognition feature, it won’t be the first smartphone to offer this functionality. Samsung’s flagship smartphones already offer similar features.

What will happen to Touch ID?

With the deployment of new security features, it is unclear what will happen to the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Apple was reportedly working to integrate the feature into the iPhone 8 display. But the in-display fingerprint solution was facing technical and yield issues. Wall Street analysts claim Apple has decided against relocating the Touch ID to the rear panel.

Apple also holds the patent for a technology that will allow it to integrate the fingerprint scanner into the power button. Will facial recognition replace the Touch ID or simply aid the fingerprint sensor? Apple is unlikely to remove a proven technology in favor of the one that is yet to be tested publicly.

Guilherme Rambo also found references to an “iPhone9,9” device, which is expected to be the 4.7-inch iPhone 7S. Apple will reportedly unveil three new iPhones this September: a flagship iPhone 8 and an iPhone 7S and 7S Plus. The latter two will retain the design elements of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, but will have internal improvements such as a faster processor.

HomePod to be controlled via SoundBoard

The developers said the firmware also offers some details on the HomePod’s working. The smart speaker will run iOS and rely on an app called SoundBoard for control. According to Troughton-Smith, the HomePod would not allow the installation of third-party apps. In contrast, other smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home allow installation of third-party apps.

The smart speaker will also offer accessibility features such as VoiceOver. Troughton-Smith said the top touch surface of the speaker is an LED matrix.

10th anniversary iPhone to come in just 3 colors

Gordon Kelly of Forbes reports that the iPhone 8 will be available only in limited color options. The current flagship iPhones come in Black, Gold, Silver, Rose Gold, Jet Black and (Product) Red. But the iPhone 8 will be available only in Jet Black, Black, and White (potentially silver.). Apple could also bring a (Product) Red color option in the future.

The report corroborates with KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s prediction that the iPhone 8 will launch only in a few colors as Apple is trying to maintain a “boutique image.”

Will iPhone 8 be the top-selling model this year?

The 10th anniversary iPhone will be the biggest upgrade in Apple’s smartphone lineup in years. It is expected to be unveiled in September, though it may not hit the store shelves until October/November. The phone is rumored to have a vertically arranged dual camera system on the back. The device will likely cost above $1,000 for at least one storage option.

The 10th anniversary is expected to be available in limited quantities in the first few weeks of launch. Given the iPhone 8’s high pricing and limited availability, analysts believe that the 4.7-inch iPhone 7S could emerge as the most popular iPhone model this year. All the three iPhones are expected to feature inductive wireless charging, a faster processor, and improved waterproofing capabilities.