And the HomePod firmware leak just keeps on flowing. It’s not yet clear when that well will run dry, so while there’s still something to be squeezed, developers will continue to squeeze harder than an HTC U11 user. Unsurprisingly, this latest bit revolves around the iPhone 8’s PearlID, a.k.a. Face ID, which is now believed to work even when the phone is lying flat on a table, without having to dip your face over the iPhone’s screen.
If Pearl/Face ID is to replace Touch ID on the iPhone 8, it should be just as easy to use, no matter the situation. Except for when the iPhone is lying flat on its face, you can access Touch ID, no matter the phone’s position or orientation. Authentication based on faces and eyes, however, have a tendency to be limited in their angle and distance from user’s face. To modify an oft quoted phrase, you have to look at it right.
The HomePod firmware that has already revealed so much about the iPhone 8 just keeps on giving and has revealed one interesting line that goes “com.apple.accessibility.resting.pearl.unlock”. Simply put, it implies that even when the iPhone 8 is at rest on a flat surface, face unlock will still work. While the feature is marked for accessibility purposes, for users who will find it hard, if not impossible, to put their heads close to the sensors, it will probably be enjoyed even by well-abled users as well.
The firmware also holds some hints that Face ID will be available to third party apps. Again, this isn’t much of a surprise if it is to take the place of Touch ID, at least on the iPhone 8. That said, it’s still good to see confirmation that that is exactly the case.
Not all clues, however, are clear and well-defined. One, in particular, seems a bit mysterious. A certain “PEARL_AUTOLOCK_FOOTER” has some developers a bit baffled, though it might have something to do with automatically locking the phone when no face is detected, almost like the reverse of some “reading modes” that keep the screen on under certain circumstances.