In 2010, an Apple engineer, spoiling the biggest redesign to the iPhone since its .
Apple has arguably never made as big a mistake since. But history has a way of repeating itself. For its 10-year anniversary, Apple is widely expected toyet again — and another leak may have just spoiled some of the phone’s new features.
Last week, the company seems to have mistakenly pushed out a firmware update for the new, a device that won’t even be available until December. And when iOS developers Steve Troughton-Smith and Guilherme Rambo dug through that code, they found buried treasure.
No, we still don’t know whatwill be called. Is it the iPhone 8? The iPhone X? Or perhaps the iPhone Pro?
And, to be clear, caveats abound. CNET hasn’t independently verified the software in question. Even assuming these leaked features are true, will Apple reverse course on anything now that it’s out there? (For a presumed announcement less than six weeks away, it feels like the die is cast.) Is this the whole picture or only part of it? And of course that’s assuming — even in this paranoid age — that this isn’t all an elaborate disinformation campaign. Apple didn’t respond to our request for comment.
That said, it appears that we know a lot more about the next iPhone now than we did just a week ago. Here are our eight big takeaways.
1. The bezels appear to be going away
Does this look like any iPhone you’ve ever seen before? No — because iPhones generally have big, thick borders at the top and bottom of the screen for the home button, earpiece, front-facing camera and a variety of sensors.
This is the silhouette of a very different iPhone. One with an edge-to-edge screen and no obvious place for a home button — which lines up nicely with.
Above, see a handy animated illustration of just how different this iPhone may look.
2. It seems to have facial recognition, aka ‘Pearl ID’
If Apple’s trying to maximize the screen on this new iPhone, why leave such a big cut-out up top?
One possible answer: That’s where the brand-newneeds to live.
Troughton-Smith and Rambo discovered dozens of references to face recognition in Apple’s leaked firmware, not to mention a brand-new infrared camera — one that sounds like it’ll be mounted on the front of the phone.
In addition to seeing in the dark, infrared cameras are often used for facial recognition. That’s because they can be set up to sense depth, preventing someone from using a flat picture of a person to fool a facial scanner.
The face recognition system even has a name (or, at least, a nickname): Pearl ID.
And it looks like you’ll need to scan your face twice to set it up.
3. There’s apparently no home button…
That blue-border silhouette isn’t the only evidence that the iPhone’swill bite the dust. There’s an entry in the code that literally reads “deviceHasHomeButton,” and the answer is zero. That’s programmer speak for “it doesn’t have one.”
Troughton-Smith claims to have found references to a “home indicator” instead. That’s a virtual home button that could appear on screen when needed, and disappear just as easily. If you’ve used the , that may not sound terribly novel.
What about people who use the home button to wake up their phones? Troughton-Smith says he found a “tap to wake” feature as well. Perhaps you’ll simply tap anywhere on the screen, like Microsoft’s Lumia phones, to wake your phone from its nap.
4. … and possibly no Touch ID fingerprint sensor, either
If Apple were to release a flagship iPhone that couldn’t tap-to-pay at stores, would you care?
That may not be a rhetorical question, because Troughton-Smith and Rambo have yet to find any evidence that the new flagship iPhone will have a fingerprint sensor.
It’s probably not in the home button — again, because there’s probably no home button — and Troughton-Smith says there’s no reference to one that might live underneath the display. Apple was reportedly trying to put a fingerprint sensor , but it was also reportedly .
A lack of evidence isn’t great evidence, mind you. It could be buried deeper in the code — or perhaps Apple will simply move the existing Touch ID fingerprint sensor, as Samsung, Google, LG and others have done.
Couldn’t Apple simply use the new Pearl ID face-recognition system to identify you? Perhaps — but Rambo says it looks like Pearl won’t be used for payments. Maybe the banks don’t trust it enough yet: Samsung told CNET that its facial recognition system . Apple might be facing similar issues — but it’s hard to imagine a new iPhone shipping with Apple Pay that’s effectively broken, so something here doesn’t quite add up.
5. Your status bar may never be the same
Remember how the very top of the screen is bisected by that camera cut-out? That could wreak havoc on the iPhone’s status bar, where you’d traditionally see your phone’s battery life, cell signal strength, and the current time of day.
But what if each side of that camera cut-out held half the status bar?
That’s what Troughton-Smith seems to have uncovered. And he says it looks like those two tiny sections of screen might even be interactive.
6. Apple’s augmented reality seems to get a boost
Even without any special hardware, Apple’s AR platformthan today’s Microsoft Hololens or Google Tango when it comes to bringing virtual objects into the real world. And the rumor mill suggested that the latest iPhone for advanced depth detection as well.
So far, developers haven’t found any evidence of a rear-mounted sensor — but it looks like that front-facing infrared camera might have a role to play in augmented reality as well, according to these two tweets:
We’re not sure why Apple would want to identify specific facial expressions yet — perhaps they’re for a new AR selfie feature, akin to Snapchat and Instagram’s?
7. There’s a tiny shred of evidence for wireless charging
Wireless (inductive) charging has been one of the longest standing iPhone rumors that hasn’t yet panned out, and KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (who has a solid track record for Apple predictions) believes all of Apple’s new iPhonesthis year.
In June, the sleuths at MacRumors discovered a new sound file, buried in iOS 11, that they believed would be the sound an iPhone would make when it was placed on an inductive charger.
Now, Rambo has found a reference to a brand-new charging icon specific to the new iPhone, too:
It’s not a lot to go on, but it’s something.
8. The new iPhone probably won’t be alone
One of the most intriguing rumors surrounding the new iPhone is that there will actually be three new phones this September: an, an iPhone 7S Plus, and the . (The “S” series phones, like before, would adopt the same design as today’s iPhones, only with a little more muscle and some other likely upgrades under the hood.)
Today, that theory seems likelier than ever before, because of two final discoveries. For starts, Rambo found mention of an “iPhone 9,9” that appears to be distinct from the new flagship iPhone.
That’s a little weak by itself — but Troughton-Smith found a reference to a new 2,436×1,125-pixel resolution screen, which just so happens to perfectly match the screen resolution named by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo when he stated there’d be three new iPhones instead of two.
For context: The iPhone 7 has a 1,334×750-pixel resolution screen,the iPhone 7 Plus has a 1,920×1,080-pixel display.
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