Sat. Mar 23rd, 2019

Apple to remove home button in upcoming high-end iPhone, report says

The home button is headed to the trash bin, if a report by Bloomberg is
to be believed. According to the report, Apple is ditching the button
to make room for a larger screen in one version of the next iPhone.
Instead of a home button, users will perform actions using on-screen
gesture controls involving a sort of dock of icons.

If true this would be the biggest change in iPhone design since the launch of the device in 2007.

The home button has been a staple in iPhone design since the
beginning. It’s used to wake a device, return to the app grid, and, more
recently, for Touch ID fingerprint recognition. All those tasks would
be performed differently if removed. However, the Bloomberg report
carefully states only the high-end version of the upcoming iPhone is
losing the home button, which jibes with other rumors from the past few
months.

Instead of pressing a home button, users would interact with a thin
software bar that can be moved around for different actions. Drag it to
the middle of the screen to open the phone, or if in an app, activate
the multitasking menu. Users can change apps or go back to the home
screen, Bloomberg says. And it shouldn’t end there. If this report is
true, Apple likely has cooked up all sorts of logical interactions for
this software bar.

 Apple has been foreshadowing the removal of the home button for
some time. For the iPhone 7, it replaced the button with a non-moving
version that simulated a click through with tactile response. The iPad
also recently gained an app menu reminiscent of OS X’s dock. Bloomberg
uses this as an illustration of the upcoming iPhone changes.

This is just part of what’s set to be a radical redesign of the next iPhone. Other rumors state the iPhone could mute notifications when you’re looking at it, include face scanning technology that
works even when the phone is on the table, and include a screen that
fills the frame of the phone except for a little notch that houses
sensors, cameras, and earpiece.

It’s rumored that Apple is preparing to launch three versions of the
next iPhone. It’s unlikely all versions will lose the home button for
several reasons. The iPhone is Apple’s best-selling device and the
removal of the home button is likely to be met with controversy. There’s
no reason to rock the boat for everyone. Plus, the high-end version of
the next iPhone will likely have much slimmer margins than an upgraded
iPhone 7. Apple has long used incremental updates combined with
bi-yearly design changes to keep margins healthy and it’s unlikely that
will change. However, following this formula, the home button will
disappear from all versions in following releases in 2018 or 2019.

Whatever it looks like we’ll be onsite when Apple unveils the next iPhone on September 12 with complete coverage.