Within the last 10 days it was discovered that Apple may have inadvertently leaked some of its ‘best kept secrets’ about the iPhone 8, when strings of iOS 11.0.2 code were discovered in a pre-release firmware build destined for Apple’s HomePod. Long story short: the HomePod code was discovered hidden on an unprotected web server last week, at which point strings of it began circulating Twitter like wildfire. Some of Twitter’s most prominent iOS developers then banded together and began sifting through the strings of code like fine sand, ultimately discovering a trove of features and specifications that could debut on the upcoming iPhone 8.
Apple’s advanced facial recognition system will not only include support for authenticating Apple Pay payments, but, lending further credence to the uncertain fate of Touch ID, will also be accessible to third-party app developers to allow authenticating or logging in, according to the strings of code Guilherme shared via Twitter this morning. Shown below, the codes clearly yet cryptically references a “payment authentication error” caused by something called ‘Pearl’, and “numberOfAppsUsingPearl.”
Interestingly, it was revealed in an earlier leak that Pearl is actually Apple’s internal codename for the iPhone 8’s 3D facial recognition project, which suggests that both of these authentication features could be facilitated by facial recognition in lieu of Touch ID. As of this afternoon, the fate of Touch ID on the iPhone 8 remains an unknown variable; however it was speculated by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that Apple may outright do away with the fingerprint-sensing technology in favor of facial recognition on its flagship device.
While previous reports have suggested that the iPhone 8’s biometric facial recognition system will be even more accurate than Touch ID — and may even be capable of unlocking an iPhone within just a few hundred milliseconds, it still remains unclear whether facial recognition will outright replace Touch ID on the iPhone 8, or whether Apple has somehow managed to embed the sensor underneath the device’s display as originally rumored.
‘Multi-Biometrics’ & More
In addition to the authentication code, Rambo shared strings of code referencing features like multi-biometrics, modern HDR, 1080p240 camera capture, as well as ‘FrontPearl’ and ‘BackPearl’ camera support. Each of these relates to camera technology in some way, so they could be references to iPhone 8 camera features such as the inclusion of 1080p HD video recording at 240 fps, or improvements to high dynamic range (HDR) photography aided by the iPhone 8’s VCSEL camera systems.
Of course we recommend taking all of these with a grain of salt until further notice. Though it’s certainly exciting to read into all these secrets, it’s important to realize that Apple could shift course at any time, and nothing is guaranteed until the moment it’s shown off on stage.