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iPhone 8 details: Apple unwittingly confirms form factor and “Face ID”

As we get closer to the official release of this year’s new iPhones, we’ve seen a whole host of leaks and rumors to suggest design details of the iPhone 8. Until now, the prospect of a “Face ID” biometric scanner and the general consensus about the shape of the display had to be taken with a pinch of salt. But now, Apple has accidentally confirmed both of those things, lending credence to previous stories.

You see, Apple released an early version of the firmware for its upcoming HomePod device, and a couple of enterprising developers have dug into the code to find some very interesting clues as to the upcoming form and functions of the iPhones 8.

Infrared face detection

Firstly, the code reveals something called “Pearl ID,” a part of Apple’s BiometricKit which looks to use infrared sensors for advanced facial recognition. The use of infrared would help the system to work even in the dark, which could give it an edge over competing devices.

Believe it or not, this code is confirmation of face detection

We’ve already heard about the impressive technology likely to be used for such a system, but these lines of code all but confirm the existence of the tech in “D22” – Apple’s internal codename for the iPhone 8. Whether Pearl ID is the final name is less clear. We would expect Apple to choose something friendlier-sounding like Face ID, but who knows.

Tiny bezels, top cut-out

The second thing confirmed by the HomePod’s firmware seems to be the general form factor of the front of the iPhone 8. Another developer discovered an icon that represents the “D22” device, and as expected it shows an almost edge-to-edge display with a notch missing at the top for the microphone, front camera, and various sensors.

The hidden iPhone 8 glyph on the HomePod

Though this glyph is a pretty low-fi representation of the iPhone 8, it does at least confirm that the screen with have a cut-out, something which we’re curious to see in action come September.