Apple has accidentally confirmed what the latest version of the iPhone will look like, with hidden software code revealing the newest features for the much-anticipated iPhone 8.
Firmware for the upcoming HomePod smart speaker has been found to contain secret information unveiling Apple’s plan to integrate “Face ID” technology in its redesigned device.
And according to experts, the leak will be of “great concern” to the tech company, which plans to launch the phone in September.
iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith dug through the code after Apple mistakenly released the software on an official public update feed earlier this week, before pulling the code.
He found documentation from Apple confirming rumours of a bezel-free iPhone, the end of the home button, and the implementation of infrared face-recognition unlock, code-named “Pearl”.
It’s been described as the biggest leak in Apple’s history – and it came from Apple itself.
I can confirm reports that HomePod’s firmware reveals the existence of upcoming iPhone’s infra-red face unlock in BiometricKit and elsewhere pic.twitter.com/yLsgCx7OTZ
— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) July 31, 2017
Mr Troughton-Smith also confirmed the iPhone’s under-the-screen virtual home button appears to have been scrapped. For months Apple’s new Touch ID was rumoured as the major change to this year’s iteration.
“For what it’s worth I’ve seen nothing to suggest an ultrasound under-the-screen Touch ID here. Looks like not this year. Quash that one,” he wrote on Twitter.
It’s unclear at this time if Apple intends to replace Touch ID solely with facial recognition software.
Brazilian iOS developer Guilherme Rambo backed Mr Troughton-Smith’s findings and revealed what appears to be the design of Apple’s 10th-anniversary iPhone.
The icon, codenamed “D22”, represents the shape of the new device, confirming speculation Apple’s newest version would be bezel-less and without a home button.
Me too. New bezel-less form factor as well pic.twitter.com/Y0RrSOk2OO
— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) July 31, 2017
RMIT University IT expert John Lenarcic told The New Daily the release of secret information is unlike Apple, and could severely hurt the California-based company.
“Apple would be worried. Throughout their history they’ve always been secretive in what’s coming next and if that has been exposed, it would be a great concern to them,” Mr Lenarcic said.
He said it was not uncommon for firmware to hold “easter eggs” or hints to upcoming technology, especially if it’s been used as a test for unreleased products.
However, according to prominent Apple investigator ATP Tipster this was not a test but an accidental release to the public meant for hardware developers currently working with Homepods.
The firmware was released on iOS 11.0.2 – a full two patches ahead of what is publicly available, Mr Rambo discovered.
Mr Lenarcic said facial recognition is the “natural progression for computers” but its complexity has often scared developers away from implementing it.
The use of infrared, which works well in low-light situations, would solve those current problems.
Mr Troughton-Smith said Apple’s “concrete leaks” would cause problems for Apple internally.
“This is a rough situation for Apple … A lot of people at Apple are going to have a nasty Monday,” he tweeted after the revelations.
“For them to be the source of the only concrete leaks about it and its design is going to upset a lot of people internally.”