Newly discovered code for Apple’s HomePod firmware suggests that the next iPhone could be able to recognize your face even if it’s lying on a nearby table.
It’s another finding from what’s turning into a trove of information – albeit largely unconfirmed info – from code meant for developers working with Apple’s forthcoming smart home hub, the HomePod. Previously discovered code snippets seemed to offer confirmation that Apple is planning to incorporate facial recognition into its next major iPhone, and that the face-scanning ‘Pearl ID’ will be used for authentication in Apple Pay.
Now, the speculation is that code reading “accessibility.resting.pearl.unlock.” points to user authentication is possible even when the iPhone is ‘at rest’, or lying down; this would offer convenience and can also be seen as an accessibility feature, since it could enable substantial interaction with the device without the need for physical contact.
Meanwhile, the question of whether Apple’s new phone will feature the fingerprint scanning Touch ID system at all remains open. The HomePod findings suggest that Pearl ID could be sophisticated enough to fully replace it, and a now-deleted social media post from a VP at Foxconn, a key components supplier, said that the yield rate of the iPhone 8’s OLED display is a low one at 60 percent, due to its ‘special shape’. That could refer to some other design feature besides in-display Touch ID, but it doesn’t bode well for the fingerprint recognition system.