Iris scanners, smart buttons and more hinted at for iPhone 7 in Apple trademark filings

iPhone 6S

Trademarks can often provide a hint at upcoming products and features well ahead of their official announcement, and thanks to the leaking of dozens of Apple trademark filings we may have just got clues about a number of secret projects.

The trademark dump includes several things that have already been announced, like True Tone and Apple Pencil, but also lists things that we've not come across in any official capacity, including 'Smart Button', 'Iris Engine', 'AirPod Case' and 'Home Hub'.

Of those, Smart Button is perhaps the most interesting. There's no way to be sure of what it refers to, but it could be the name for the pressure-sensitive home button that's been rumored for the iPhone 7.

Cameras, scanners, earphones and more

Iris Engine is intriguing too. This could be referring to an iris scanner, which we're not expecting to see on an Apple phone this year, but may get on the iPhone 8 in 2018. Though a separate filing lists the 'Iris Image Engine' which makes it sound more like a camera technology.

We're expecting big camera changes, especially from the dual-lens iPhone 7 Plus, so this filing could be related to them – though the mention of 'image' doesn't entirely rule out an iris scanner.

AirPod is a term we've heard before, as it's the name that's been attached to Apple's rumored wireless headphones, which are likely to launch alongside the iPhone 7.

Home Hub meanwhile likely refers to something HomeKit-related, possible the company's rumored Amazon Echo competitor.

The trademark dump also includes filings for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, once again pointing to them as the names for Apple's about-to-be-announced handsets, with the iPhone 7 Pro nowhere to be seen.

Of course most of this is just guesswork, and trademarks don't always even turn into products. But the list of filings, which was obtained by Apple Insider, should at least be accurate, as it was provided by an attorney who's revealed trademarks in the past.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.