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Apple is to blame for leaking the iPhone 8’s biggest secrets

by Brandon Russell | August 3, 2017August 3, 2017 2:00 pm PDT

Everyone knows the story about the Apple engineer who left an iPhone 4 at a bar, spilling the device’s secrets before its announcement. I’m here to tell you a new story about how Apple’s own software divulged secrets about the iPhone 8.

Earlier this week, a firmware download for Apple’s HomePod was discovered by developers and then immediately dismantled, revealing a trove of secrets about this year’s most anticipated flagship.

Among the findings, it was revealed the iPhone 8 will feature an infrared-based scanner, the device’s display resolution, a more powerful camera experience, and more. Essentially, everything you’d want to know about the iPhone 8 was revealed—and it was all Apple’s fault.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber has the scoop, saying Apple mistakenly distributed the HomePod’s OS through a “world-readable server.”

How in the world does something like this happen? My understanding is that Apple is (or at least was) on the cusp of widespread deployment of prototype HomePods to employees. Someone prepared an over-the-air software update and because it was intended to be distributed only to Apple employees, the OS was compiled without all the usual flags set to omit code that pertains to unreleased hardware. (Kind of makes sense, insofar as HomePod itself is unreleased hardware.) Building the Os without those flags set may not have been a mistake. But distributing it via a world-readable server was.

Which is why we know a lot about the iPhone 8 ahead of its announcement. The firmware that was distributed by Apple even included an image of the device’s supposed design.

It may not quite be on the level of that unfortunate iPhone 4 leak, but Apple’s slip up is a pretty big deal considering how anticipated this year’s release is.

Plenty of details about the device are still unknown, like where Apple plans to put the Touch ID sensor. We’ll get the answer to that and more when Apple holds its annual iPhone event in September.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...