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iPhone 8’s New Lock Button Expected to Invoke Siri and More

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This year’s iPhone Edition (a.k.a. iPhone 8) won’t have a Home button. And in the wake of its removal, many of its functions are reportedly being moved elsewhere — including activating Siri, according to a new report.

On Saturday, Brazilian iOS developer Guilherme Rambo tweeted about the possibility of Apple moving various Home button functionalities to the Sleep/Wake button (a.k.a, the “Lock” or “Power” button). A follower then inquired about whether he found any evidence in the source code suggesting that fact. In response, Rambo replied that he found a “gesture” to invoke Siri by holding down the Sleep/Wake button.

It’s currently unclear where the source code in question originated from. Notably, Rambo had previously revealed aspects of upcoming Apple software and devices via bits of code within the iOS 11 betas, as well as the HomePod firmware. In a follow-up tweet, Rambo indicated that there’s a “SpringBoard” implementation for Siri invoking with a long-press on the Sleep/Wake button. For non-developers, SpringBoard is an under-the-hood application that manages iOS’s Home screen.

Apple’s radically redesigned iPhone 8/iPhone Edition device is rumored to replace the Home button with software-based gestural controls and a new app dock, according to a Bloomberg report from last week. While an advanced Face ID system is widely expected to replace Touch ID, details about where other former Home button functionalities will live are still murky. As an example, a long-press on the Sleep/Wake currently activates the slide-to-turn-off screen. Unless that functionality has been remapped elsewhere, the button would need to sufficiently differentiate between the two functions.

Siri isn’t the first iOS control rumored to be remapped to the Lock button, either. Last month, Brazilian site iHelpBR found a string of code in the HomePod firmware that suggested the analog Sleep/Wake button could change functions contextually (depending on the app being used). As an example, the site found evidence that the Lock button could be used as a shutter when the native Camera app is opened. Another interesting possibility is the addition of separate contact switches within the Lock button. That could explain why it appears larger in recent design leaks.

Of course, while many details are still up in the air, we shouldn’t have to wait much longer to find out — just about one week, to be exact. Apple is slated to unveil its highly anticipated, premium OLED iPhone at a recently announced media event on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Cupertino is also expected to unveil several other devices at fall event, including two new incrementally updated iPhone models, an Apple Watch with LTE and possibly a 4K Apple TV.

iDrop News will be providing in-depth coverage of the Sept. 12 event, so be sure to check back here next Tuesday for the latest news, announcements and updates.

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