By Don Reisinger
July 31, 2017

It’s uncommon for the notoriously secretive Apple to reveal product details ahead of a launch, but that might have just happened.

Well-known software developer Steve Troughton-Smith last week found that Apple mistakenly released software code for its upcoming iPhone. While it’s impossible to say for sure the code is legitimate (Troughton-Smith says “it’s 1,000% real”), it suggests Apple is planning a new facial-scanning feature in its upcoming “iPhone 8.”

In the code Troughton-Smith analyzed, there was a mention of a “face detect operation.” The resulting code references the use of a camera, access to stored facial information, and more, according to the information Troughton-Smith tweeted over the weekend. That alone, he said, is proof that Apple is indeed planning a facial-recognition feature in its upcoming handset.

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Rumors have been swirling around the iPhone for the last several months. Those rumors suggest Apple has three devices planned for this year, including two handsets called the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, which will only offer minor upgrades over last year’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The third—which media outlets have called the iPhone 8 but could ultimately have a different name—is expected to deliver a major upgrade with a new design.

According to reports, the iPhone 8 could also be the first Apple smartphone to offer a facial-scanning feature to verify a person’s identity and allow them access to the device’s software. The feature, according to reports, would scan a user’s face with the front-facing camera and verify it against the owner’s face. If it matches, the person would gain access to the device.

The feature is similar to Apple’s (AAPL) current fingerprint sensor, Touch ID, which similarly authenticates users.

Apple hasn’t confirmed the facial-scanning is coming to a future iPhone, but several reports have said it’s imminent. The code, Troughton-Smith argued, is the smoking gun.

But there was another hidden feature inside the code: a schematic of what could be the iPhone’s design.

According to Troughton-Smith, the code includes a graphic of the alleged iPhone 8. The image shows a silhouette of a device that has a screen nearly entirely covering its face and a small notch at the top for the smartphone’s earpiece.

Perhaps most importantly, the graphic looks identical to the design of devices that have leaked online in recent months. Those leaks show a device, which the sources said is the iPhone 8, featuring a large screen nearly covering the handset’s face. They also feature the same notch at the top.

Apple has not confirmed that the leaked code is authentic, which means the report should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.

The iPhone maker is expected to unveil its new iPhones, including the iPhone 8, in September. It’s unknown exactly when the device might hit store shelves.

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