Apple itself has left a clue about what you could expect in at least one of the iPhone models it plans to launch later this year, expected to be the iPhone 8. Mentioned in the smart speaker HomePod’s firmware is a face unlock feature for the iPhone, which would allow customers to get past the lock screen by just looking at the phone.
Spotted by developer Steve Troughton-Smith, the HomePod’s firmware codebase, which Apple published recently, has several references of “BKFaceDetect”, which presumably stands for BiometricKit. The codebase also mentions infrared camera, which could be there to detect a user’s face in the dark.
The existence of these references lends further credibility to several reports from earlier that suggested that Apple is planning to ditch the Touch ID fingerprint scanner on at least one of its upcoming iPhone models. A recent report said that Apple was planning to include an infrared camera for scanning the face of users. The company is also believed to be working on more than one iPhone models for launch this year, with many reports pointing to iPhone 8, iPhone 7s, and iPhone 7s Plus.
Included in the code is also a picture of an iPhone prototype which doesn’t have any bezel or the Touch ID button. Separately, a leaked paper insert for the upcoming iPhone boxset, which shows how to remove the SIM card tray, also painted a similar picture of the iPhone. The paper insert was spotted by Slashleaks.
If the next iPhone does ship with a face unlocking feature, it won’t be the first handset on the market to offer that functionality. A handful of smartphone vendors including Samsung and Essential have already…