Following the leak of HomePod’s firmware, developers Steve Troughton-Smith and Guilherme Rambo have uncovered new features headed to Apple’s next flagship, including facial expression, attention detection, and a tap to wake function.
Many of the features uncovered in the firmware are pretty self-explanatory. Tap to wake, for example, is a commonly used feature found in Android phones, and allows users to wake up the screen by double-tapping, rather than pressing a physical sleep/wake button. Attention detection, meanwhile, could recognize when a user is looking at the iPhone 8 and silence notifications since they’re already engaged with the phone.
As for the mention of facial expression, the references could point to Apple’s rumored facial recognition technology, which will either replace or supplement a fingerprint sensor. The biometric feature is said to be more advanced than facial recognition features found in competing phones, and possibly take advantage of Apple’s new ARKit.
For what it's worth… I've seen nothing to suggest an ultrasound under-the-display Touch ID here. Looks like not this year. Quash that one
— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) August 1, 2017
Speaking of biometrics, Troughton-Smith said he’s seen nothing in the HomePod’s firmware to suggest the iPhone 8 will feature “an ultrasound under-the-display Touch ID,” which is hugely disappointing. “Looks like not this year,” Troughton-Smith added.
If Apple is indeed unable to release the iPhone 8 with Touch ID under the display, it’s unclear where the sensor will go. Some have suggested it’ll be moved to the back of the device, while others believe it could be axed altogether for more advanced facial recognition technology.
Troughton-Smith has some other goodies on his Twitter, including the possibility of a more interactive status bar and a virtual home button known as “home indicator.”