The radically new design of the iPhone 8 – as well as a number of never-before-seen innovative features – have emerged in new firmware code distributed by Apple. But how did the Cupertino-headquartered technology giant leak its own biggest secret?
It has been an incredible month for iPhone 8 leaks and rumours.
Code distributed by the tech company has divulged a number of new details regarding the impending flagship smartphone – and even revealed the final design of the new iPhone 8.
Firmware for the upcoming Apple HomePod, which was first announced during the World Wide Developers Conference, includes a number of references to unannounced features and hardware.
Renown iOS app developer Steve Troughton-Smith this week unearthed the reference to Face ID within the reams of code.
The feature looks set to enable iPhone 8 owners to unlock their device with a glance.
The iOS developer said he discovered the code as part of a batch of code that refers to something new dubbed ‘BiometricKit’.
Whether Face ID will replace Touch ID – as was rumoured earlier this summer – remains to be seen.
Alongside the new biometric unlock method, Troughton-Smith also uncovered an icon that appears to confirm the design of the next-generation Apple iPhone 8.
The small icon resembles the simple line drawings Apple uses to represent devices within the sidebar on macOS Finder windows.
This new icon appears to confirm the bezel-less iPhone 8 design.
It appears to show the almost edge-to-edge AMOLED display – believed to around 5.8-inches – with no physical Home Button and a small notch in the top bezel to house the front-facing cameras.
But how could this happen? How did the notoriously-secretive Apple manage to publish its own secrets?
Apple pundit John Gruber has published a blog post on DaringFireball that reveals how this colossal mistake might have happened.
“My understanding is that Apple is (or at least was) on the cusp of a widespread deployment of prototype HomePods to employees,” Gruber writes.
“Someone prepared an over-the-air software update and because it was intended to be distributed only to Apple employees, the OS was compiled without all the usual flags set to omit code that pertains to unreleased hardware.”
Apple has the ability to lockdown and hide certain features within its own code – allowing it to work on features internally that never appear in beta software distributed to developers.
The HomePod software did not include any of these flags since the beta software was for an unreleased product and therefore should never have been distributed to external developers.
John Gruber concludes: “Building the OS without those flags set may not have been a mistake. But distributing it via a world-readable server was.”
As well as hinting at new features set to debut with the iPhone 8, the HomePod code also disproved a number of prominent rumours about the device.