HomePod code reveals how the virtual home button on the iPhone 8 will function

With a virtual home button for the iPhone 8 unofficially confirmed, more details have been revealed about how it will function.

The findings come via iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith, who you may recognise from his attempts to port Siri to the iPhone 4. He’s sure to be causing a stir at Apple once again with his digging into the HomePod firmware.

An outline of the iPhone 8 was found in the firmware with no home button in sight to accommodate a “bezel-less” design. Further analysis found references to new features such as facial recognition and tap-to-wake.

For developers, however, they’ll be wanting to know how the virtual home button works and how it can be utilised.

Virtual(ly no) change

For those excited to make innovative use of this new space, or have some customisation over it, prepare for disappointment.

The code indicates the home button indicator will be resizable, or hidden, but that’s as much as Apple is allowing currently. Unfortunately, apps cannot even be extended into this space.

It would have been nice to at least have the option to change the colour of the virtual home button – this would help with matching an app’s theme. Of course, Apple could decide to implement at launch or soon after.

Essentially, the home button is just a virtual replacement of the physical button from previous iPhones. When playing videos this will naturally be hidden to make full use of the available space. It will be interesting to see how the aspect ratio is altered when the home button is hidden for video playback.

Apple will likely use the area for its own purposes but these are yet to be defined. We’ll just have to wait for the official reveal expected later this year.

What are your thoughts about the virtual home button? Let us know in the comments.

Rojenx is a leading concept artist who work appears in games and publications

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