Developers and programmers — as they are wont to do — have been digging into the latest firmware release for the HomePod in an attempt to read the technological tea leaves on what’s next for the iPhone — specifically the soon-to-be-released “iPhone 8” (or iPhone X, or whatever Apple decides to call it). Apple first released the HomePod firmware in late July. As it was intended for employees testing the not-yet-available HomePod speaker, which runs a version of iOS, Apple did not strip out references to upcoming products and features.
Developer Guilherme Rambo, according to reports in MacRumors, thinks he has discovered several features we might see in the new device.
Rambo claims that strings of code he has uncovered indicate that facial recognition is coming in the iPhone 8. That had already been widely speculated about as a likely feature — but the new rumor indicates that Apple Pay will support facial recognition for identity. It also seems that facial recognition, much like ToughID before it, has been configured to work with several apps.
That intuitive leap was apparently drawn from a line in the code that references a payment authentication error with “Pearl.” “Pearl” is reportedly Apple’s internal code name for facial recognition in the iPhone 8.
A code string that reads “numberOfAppsUsingPearl” suggests facial recognition functionality can be accessed by third-party apps.
The conclusion being draw: Touch ID is being fully replaced by facial recognition, just as suspected. According to reports, Apple’s facial recognition system is reportedly faster and more secure than Touch ID and can unlock an iPhone within few hundred milliseconds using more data than fingerprint scan. Previous firmware leaks indicate that it will work when the iPhone is laying flat on a table and that it mutes notification sounds when a face is in view.
Rambo has also found a few other interesting bits of code that offered some eye-catching possible conjectures on the coming Apple redesign: multi biometrics, modern HDR, 1080p240 camera capture functionality for a “back” and a “front” (suggesting 240 fps video capture at 1080p, an upgrade from the current 720p limit), and mentions of “FrontPearl” and “BackPearl” camera support.