Apple revealed Homepad in its annual WWDC conference in June this year, and we all got to hear about Apple’s plans to compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home in the space of smart home assistant speakers, with the help of Homepod. A while back (in June precisely), Apple held a ‘Stopping Leakers – Keeping Confidential’ Employee Seminar. The seminar was conducted to “prevent information from reaching competitors, counterfeiters, and the press.” But, contrary to the theme, the conference was later leaked online. How are these two things related?
What can be accounted as the biggest Apple leak in recent years, and that too coming from the company itself, Apple pushed out a firmware update (by mistake) for its yet to be released HomePod smart speaker, and developers Steve Troughton-Smith and Guilherme Rambo have unpacked the code and discovered a bunch of new details, both about the speaker and the upcoming iPhones.
Like the iPhone, the Homepod also runs on iOS, features Siri and a powerful A8 chip. Now developers have already had a hand on the beta version of iOS 11, but the fact that the firmware update featured for the Homepod contained iOS 11.0.2 was something to take notice of. Like the iPhones, the speaker seems to run a full iOS stack. The firmware also confirms the presence of + and – buttons the top of the device, and can be used to control volume and Siri, and dismiss alarms or timers. Troughton-Smith also adds that the surface at the centre of the HomePod looks to be a LED Matrix, rather than just large LEDs, meaning the device could display shapes and symbols.
— Alan Miller (@rosewoodat5th) July 28, 2017
The update, along with revealing features about the speaker, held some interesting facts about iPhone 8 (iPhone Pro or iPhone X) too. Troughton-Smith and other developers have been spending the past day examining the code inside the Apple HomePod, and they have found the existence of an infra-red face unlock feature (that would help users to unlock their phone in the dark) in the next iPhone’s Biometric Kit. The code also contains an image hinting at a bezel-less design in the next iteration of the iPhone.
Me too. New bezel-less form factor as well pic.twitter.com/Y0RrSOk2OO
— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) July 31, 2017
More features have been dug from the accidently pushed update, which include tap-to-wake, facial expression and attention detection, and the removal of the physical home button in the new iPhone. Along with the “facial recognition”, the attention detection feature would control the way the phone would push the notifications onto the screen if the user is looking at it. In terms of facial recognition, the code mentions facial features like ‘mouthstretch’, ‘mouthsmile’, and ‘mouthdimple’. The code also reveals a “tap to wakeup” feature (like Android) and the absence of the physical home button.
The firmware update also reveals that the iPhone 8 will have a screen resolution of 1125 x 2436. This will result in an aspect ratio which is slightly taller than the iPhone 7, while being similar width wise. Currently, the navigation bar sits directly under the status bar. But the screen resolution update make way for the rumor that the new status bar might take up a different spot, leading to the integration of the navigation bar with the virtual home button at the bottom of the display. This will make one-handed use easier on the iPhone 8, which is expected to have a significantly larger display.
If Apple’s documentation regarding the Homepod’s firmware update is to believed (considering the fact that it has been released directly by Apple), then it would be safe to say that the next iPhone might get a total makeover in terms of look and functionality.