We've already seen confirmation that Apple is working on facial recognition in the iPhone 8 through a recent HomePod firmware release, and now additional information found in the code confirms Apple has a mechanism for authenticating Touch ID payments with a face scan instead of through a fingerprint.
A com.apple.passbook.payment string found in the HomePod firmware by iOS developer @r_idn features two references to "pearl.field-detect" and "pearl.pre-arm" among other payment verification data. As we learned from earlier leaks, "pearl" refers to Pearl ID, the codename for Apple's facial recognition system. Apple's current implementation appears to be incomplete, as pearl is only mentioned under presentation and not authentication.
While many are skeptical that Touch ID can be replaced by a facial recognition system that's equally secure, rumors have suggested Apple's facial recognition technique captures more data points than a fingerprint scan, making it more secure than Touch ID.
It's not yet clear how Apple Pay will work without a Home button and without a fingerprint, but it will presumably be able to authenticate by scanning a user's face, with a payment completed via a finger on the screen as is the case in current iPhones.
Previous HomePod firmware leaks related to the iPhone 8 have suggested Apple has not implemented an under-display Touch ID solution as was initially rumored for the device, and it's looking more and more like there's no other physical Touch ID solution built into the upcoming smartphone.
For more on the iPhone 8, make sure to check out our extensive roundup, which aggregates all of the rumors we've heard about the device so far. Lately, we've unearthed a lot of new information thanks to the HomePod firmware, including details confirming infrared facial tracking, the design of the iPhone 8, a split status bar and tap to wake, and an upcoming "SmartCamera" feature.
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