Sunday, 06 August 2017 23:00

‘Accidental’ HomePod firmware leak reveals swag of Apple secrets

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With HomePods in internal testing by Apple employees, a reportedly accidental leak of firmware destined for those test units only has revealed Apple secrets making many happy.

It’s all over the news: the accidental HomePod firmware leak has seemingly confirmed a bunch of secrets Apple was presumably hoping to keep until its famous and highly anticipated keynotes, of which there is at least one more for this year.

That would be the keynote that unveils the expected iPhone 7s, the 7s Plus, and the much rumoured iPhone 8, which the smart money calls the iPhone Pro, as well as placing bets on iPhone X and iPhone Edition.

iPhone Pro seems the most likely, given we have iPad Pro, Mac Pro and MacBook Pro, with this reportedly OLED-screen device having an unusual cut-out at the top of its screen to make space for cameras, speakers and sensors, while maximising available screen space.

The firmware leak appears to have an image that supports this iPhone 8/Pro screen configuration, while it also suggests a front-facing camera will be able to record 4K video at 60fps, which would be a boon for videographers and those taking photos or video selfies while being able to see themselves on their screens.

Also suggested is “Face Pay” which will recognise your face to authorise payments once made by Touch ID, although whether Touch ID will also be under the glass, or embedded into the on/off button on the side of the iPhone Pro is yet to be seen.

MacRumors is but one of the sites with all the details, which includes reports of code found to suggest a 4K capable Apple TV is on the way, able to deliver HDR video via the current top three standards, Dolby Vision, HDR 10 and HLG or Hybrid Log Gamma, not to be confused with electronics maker LG.

The HomePod firmware update also appears to confirm that the new Apple Watch, presumably Series 3, will be able to have a SIM card inserted for independent Apple Watch usage, while still naturally being fully pairable with an iPhone.

HomePod also appears to have a touch screen, and 1GB of RAM alongside.

There’s no word yet on whether HomePod will also be a wireless charging device able to send wireless charging waves to future Apple devices, much like Wi-Fi is sent to devices without that device needing to be placed on the Wi-Fi router.

After all, that’s the way today’s wireless charging pads work – you must place your device onto a pad, which is wireless but only just.

Thus, with so many apparent leaks for things that people have wanted for a while, such as a 4K-capable Apple TV, an iPhone with a totally new design, a 4G LTE capable Apple Watch and other surprises yet to be unveiled, Apple’s customers look set to be delighted.

Indeed, they will be as delighted as the Apple doomsayers continue pretending Apple is doomed, with the only thing Apple is doomed to experience being a continued massive increase in its bank balance due to customers voluntarily giving Apple money in exchange for its products and services.

Finally, although Apple does not comment on unreleased products, the company does work in mysterious ways. Whether this truly was an accidental leak, or Apple checking to see whether people were paying attention, and then to see how much publicity it would stir up, will probably never be known.

That said, Apple would already know the answer to this question, so it really does seem accidental, but stranger things have happened – and the news may well serve to delay purchases by some customers of competing products as they wait for Apple’s latest and greatest to arrive.

All’s fair in love and war, and in business when it comes to gaining a competitive edge while taking all the attention away from competitors products – or at least, so it would seem!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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