First unveiled at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the HomePod represents the next branch in Apple’s product line. It’s aimed at competing with devices like Amazon’s Echo, offering users what is essentially an immobile robot assistant – you can ask it to play music, to dim connected smart lights, even to offer a traffic update ahead of a routine commute.
It could prove a useful tool to Apple customers when it’s launched later this year, but it’s already proving useful to fans and industry analysts speculating about Apple’s next big iPhone. That’s because the firmware code of the HomePod has been released, and because of planned interactivity between the smart home hub and the iPhone, various snippets of the code offer hints about the features of Apple’s next flagship device.
Here’s what the HomePod trove has told us so far about the iPhone 8:
Its home button will be virtual, not physical:
It will support multi-factor authentication:
It will be able to recognize your face…
… Even if you’re not even holding it:
And it can use your face to verify payments:
It’s important to remember that this is still just speculation, albeit a particularly well-founded variety, given its source. But big questions remain, including the rather important one of whether the iPhone 8 will feature Touch ID in the display – or at all. Those answers will come, and maybe even before the device is officially announced, if the HomePod code leaks keep up.