HomePod Firmware Suggests iPhone 8 Split Status Bar, Tap to Wake and No Touch ID Under Display
Firmware for the as-of-yet unreleased HomePod has provided a wealth of information on the speaker itself and the upcoming iPhone 8, thanks to developers like Steven Troughton-Smith who have spent time digging into the code.
Troughton-Smith shared a few new prospective iPhone 8 features and predictions this evening, once again sourced from the HomePod firmware, giving us even more insight into the radically redesigned iPhone Apple plans to release in 2017.
First and foremost, Troughton-Smith has seen no indication that there are features related to under-display Touch ID functionality in the iPhone 8, and he does not believe that such a feature will be included in the device.
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
Initial iPhone 8 rumors suggested Apple was working to put Touch ID under the display as the iPhone 8 features an edge-to-edge design with no Home button, but that may not have panned out due to rumored production difficulties. Current information suggests Apple may instead replace Touch ID with a new facial recognition system, and there are indeed several references to infrared face detection in the firmware.
The iPhone 8 is expected to have an edge-to-edge design with thin bezels at the top and the sides, but there will be a blocked out area for the front-facing camera and the new sensors that will enable facial recognition. According to Troughton-Smith and developer Jeffrey Grossman, there are references to new "split" options for the visual provider system for UIStatusBar, suggesting status bar information like connection strength, battery, Bluetooth, and the time may be displayed on either side of the sensor/camera area, for a streamlined status bar at the top of the device.
Troughton-Smith says the new status bar "seems a lot more complex and powerful in design," and could even be interactive in some way.
Along with details on the split status bar and the lack of references to Touch ID, Troughton-Smith has also found information suggesting the iPhone 8 could potentially support a "tap to wake" feature. Tap to Wake is a feature built into some Windows-based Lumia smartphones, allowing the screen to be activated with a double tap, something Apple could use as an alternative to a Home button for waking up an iPhone.
In regard to the Home button, it appears to be called the "Home Indicator" in the firmware, and according to Troughton-Smith, Apple has "no qualms about hiding it in certain contexts." Rumors have suggested that while there will be no physical Home button, there could be an on-screen function area that houses a virtual Home button and other controls. Based on what Troughton-Smith says, this virtual area may be able to be hidden for things like full-screen apps and videos.
The virtual home button seems to just be called the 'home indicator' — looks like the OS has no qualms about hiding it in certain contexts — Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) August 1, 2017
As a last little tidbit, Troughton-Smith says ARKit and Photos are getting new functionality that goes with the front-facing camera with depth sensing features, such as "ARFaceAnchor."
There are details about the iPhone 8 within the HomePod firmware because HomePod will run a version of iOS. The firmware that Apple released corresponds to iOS 11.0.2, a future update that will be introduced sometime after iOS 11 launches in the fall alongside new iPhones.