Technology

Has the design of the next iPhone been found hidden in Apple's own code?

Programmers spot text and image references to facial recognition software and larger, buttonless screen.

The long-standing rumour that the next iPhone will do away with the home button and feature a larger screen has been further fuelled by possible “clues” found in Apple’s own code.

The new phone, which is due to be unveiled in September, has been heavily linked with the introduction of a facial recognition unlock system, as well as a larger edge-to-edge screen and the removal of the home button.

Now, two developers believe they have found evidence to suggest both rumours are true – because of references to features in the firmware code for the new HomePod speaker.

Programmer Steve Troughton-Smith tweeted a series of images showing the new speaker’s code, which includes multiple references to “face detection” alongside “biometric ID”.

Shortly after posting, fellow developer Guilherme Rambo replied with his own find within the firmware code, an image that appeared to be the outline of a phone, but one that featured no home button and was larger than the existing screen.

Though the finds are unconfirmed – and will remain as such until Apple announces the next device in the autumn – they do match up with other rumours and allegedly leaked images that show the 2017 iPhone sporting the buttonless screen and larger display.

Several images claiming to show dummy units of the new phone have appeared on social media on recent months, all of which have shown the buttonless display.

Samsung made a similar move earlier this year when it launched the Galaxy S8, stretching its screen further across the front of the device and removing the physical home button.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone’s launch, with Apple expected to mark the occasion via its flagship device.

Some reports have suggested the tech giant could unveil as many as three new smartphones this year – with a special tenth anniversary device appearing alongside an iPhone 7s and 7s Plus.

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