Apple’s leaked HomePod firmware is the gift the keeps on giving, and this time it revealed details about the iPhone 8 virtual Home button. The short version: You can hide it and resize it.
Developer Steve Troughton-Smith hit pay dirt when he dug through the leaked firmware looking for Home button references. He found code for resizing and hiding the virtual Home button, along with information showing there won’t be a way to change its color, and tab bars that display at the bottom of apps will appear below the button.
We know some facts re iPhone 8 home button area:
• it resizes
• indicator can be hidden
• no API to change color
• tab bars extend under it
— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) August 10, 2017
The iPhone 8 is expected to be introduced at Apple’s usual September media event where its new phone models are unveiled. The new phone will reportedly be slightly larger than the iPhone 7 and sport an OLED display that runs nearly edge to edge making it as big as the iPhone 7 Plus screen.
That bigger screen means there isn’t room for the physical Home button, so Apple is replacing it with a virtual on-screen version. That seems to be confirmed by the details Troughton-Smith found in the leaked firmware.
Apple’s HomePod is a Siri-based voice assistant appliance, much like Amazon’s Echo. The HomePod has several speakers built in along with a microphone array so it can fine tune its audio output based on where it’s placed in a room. Apple is positioning HomePod as a high quality streaming music device that also offers voice control features.
More iPhone 8 Leaks
HomePod isn’t shipping until December, but the firmware for the device leaked online recently and developers have been sifting through it ever since looking for details about all of Apple’s unreleased iOS-based products.
The firmware also shows the iPhone 8 will have a split status bar to leave room for the front-facing camera and sensors, supports facial recognition, and will include tap to wake like the Apple Watch. Apple TV looks to be ready for a refresh, too, because the firmware notes support for a 4K model.
Since the HomePod won’t ship until later this year it’s possible we could see features that don’t match with the details in the leaked firmware. That said, we’re late enough in the development cycle that the code developers have examined so far paints a pretty accurate portrait of what we can expect in this fall’s product announcements.