iPhone 8 facial recognition, “Pearl ID,” may authenticate Apple Pay purchases

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Nomenclature for biometric authentication mechanisms on Apple devices may not be evolving much anytime soon if we are to believe this trove of assets found in the repository for Apple’s upcoming smart speaker, the Homepod.

The discovery comes from developer Daniel Niyazov who picked up a couple of important strings inside of the iPhone 8’s directory of the HomePod’s firmware.

com.apple.passbook.payment.contactlessinterface.presentation.pearl.field-detect
com.apple.passbook.payment.contactlessinterface.presentation.pearl.pre-arm

It seems that the tap-to-pay interface may involve something called “Pearl ID,” according to insiders — referring to the iris (eyes are the pearls to our sensory treasury after all) and facial recognition artifices that’s expected on the iPhone 8. There are mentions of “finger,” likely vestiges for Touch ID, but the excerpt of code that was displayed about the “contactless interface” pertain to this working name of Pearl.

The picture is not looking particularly good for a fingerprint sensor at all. There are also doubts as to how secure this “Pearl ID” is — facial and iris scanning may mean more data points than either of the two alone, but we don’t know how easily replicable those points can be. In any case, when it comes to mobile payments, there are other ways to capture a payment authentication token, even while encrypted, and use it for an illicit purchase.

What we’re saying is that it’s a scary world out there and that you should probably wait and see what’s happening with the iPhone 8 for real.

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About The Author
Jules Wang

Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.