iPhone 8’s face-scanning feature may work even when phone lays flat

The iPhone 8 is fast-becoming the most leaked phone in history, with the mountain of rumours and reports growing ever-higher.

At the end of July we had a leak from none other than Apple itself, which accidentally pushed firmware for its upcoming HomePod smart speaker and inadvertently released details of forthcoming products.

That included the iPhone 8, which showed up in crude design outlines hidden within the code itself.

And now, it seems the code is still providing us with info about the upcoming handset, this time connected to the oft-rumoured facial recognition tech.

Related: iPhone 7S

The HomePod’s firmware itself showed that the iPhone will come with infra-red face unlock in BiometricKit – a developer tool for biometric sensor tech.

But it seems the facial recognition, internally referred to as “Pearl”, will be more capable than existing versions of the feature, if the latest revelations from the code are accurate.

iPhone 8 render

Credit: Gordon Kelly and Nodus

Instead of having to pick the phone up for the feature to work, code suggests it will be able to scan a user’s face and unlock a device while the phone is laying flat on a surface (via).

As iHelp BR found, code strings found in the firmware make reference to “AXRestingPearlUnlock” and “com.apple.accessibility.resting.pearl.unlock”.

Apple is expected to introduce the facial recognition feature, perhaps in place of the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, which will likely be affected by the new, almost full-face screen design.

Whether Apple will be able to integrate the fingerprint scanner into the display remains to be seen, but at this point there’s nothing to confirm that will be the case.

Which means the facial recognition element could become the new focus for Apple, with iHelp BR also noting some further code elements that hint at further abilities.

These code strings include “APPS_USING_PEARL” and “PEARL_AUTOLOCK”, suggesting the feature could be used to unlock specific apps and prevent particular people from using the phone.

At this point, it’s all still a bit unclear, but Apple is expected to unveil the phone in September so stay tuned.

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