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Rumor: Apple to feature sapphire crystal touch home button on 'iPhone 5S'

post #1 of 89
Thread Starter 
The fingerprint sensing home button rumored to be on Apple's next iPhone will be a capacitive touch-sensitive button covered by scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass, a new report claims.

The alleged details come from Taiwan's Technews.tw, in a report first highlighted by Cult of Mac on Tuesday. The rumor claims Apple will ditch the physical button found on all previous iPhones, opting instead for a touch-sensitive virtual button.

Fingerprint


The unconfirmed report claims that Apple will utilize sapphire crystal glass because of its compatibility with optic sensors. Apple already utilizes a crystal glass cover to enclose the iPhone 5 rear camera.

The report noted that the physical home button on previous iPhone models has been problematic and prone to failure. But rather than ditch the home button entirely, it suggests that Apple will replace it with a touch-sensitive, non-moving part ??much like Apple did in replacing the scroll wheel on the original iPod.

The very first iPod made by Apple had a mechanical wheel that would physically spin around to allow a user to scroll. That was quickly replaced with a touch-sensitive wheel with the second-generation model.

By using sapphire crystal glass, Apple allegedly plans to prevent scratches on the surface, which could ruin the fingerprint sensing capabilities expected to be featured in the so-called "iPhone 5S."

Well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in January that Apple was planning on including a fingerprint sensor under the home button of the "iPhone 5S." He gave no indication that Apple planned to ditch the physical button that can be pressed, however.
post #2 of 89
I just can't see the physical home button going away, as while the mechanism can certainly be improved, physical buttons are so much more reliable than capacitive buttons when it comes to feel. I do like the use of sapphire crystal though, would definitely give it a signature feel, and a fingerprint sensor is a very secure, proven reliable form of security (especially when compared to facial recognition).
post #3 of 89
A fingerprint sensor seems like something they could test on the MacBooks first, before deploying on the iPhone. To get all the kinks out.
post #4 of 89
"and a fingerprint sensor is a very secure, proven reliable form of security (especially when compared to facial recognition)."

no it's not.

Because of resolution concerns, lacks of different points of information and so on, it's easy to have many persons having the same fingerprints for cheap captors you have in laptop or mobiles. You can also fool them.

It can be convenient, but not secure for sure.
post #5 of 89
That home button was an engineering disaster
post #6 of 89

Does this mean that price of iPhone is going to get increased, while cheaper iPhone not really cheaper?

post #7 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifij775 View Post

That home button was an engineering disaster

I disagree. The physical home button was the single greatest design achievements of the iPhone. But yes, sadly it has reliability issues, although I've never personally had one fail and I've owned all the iPhones. I'm as careful as it gets with my stuff, though. The home button should be more reliable.

Yes, having it be a capacitive concave thumb dip would solve any reliability issues, but I think the intuitive nature of it might be lost - though I'd love if I was proved wrong about that. It certainly might conceivably be given to far more accidental presses, which would be a hindrance.

One thing that does make sense about this story, however, is if they do add a fingerprint sensor to the home button, I see the fact that if it were to remain physically clickable as potentially confusing within that context. If there is no way to physically press the button down then the intuitive nature of holding your finger on the button to activate the unlocking fingerprint sensor would be very obvious. When the answer to the question of 'do you press it or not press it when holding your finger down?' is 'you can't press', then the question never arises.
Edited by Ireland - 5/14/13 at 5:56am
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #8 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by oomu View Post

"and a fingerprint sensor is a very secure, proven reliable form of security (especially when compared to facial recognition)."

no it's not.

Because of resolution concerns, lacks of different points of information and so on, it's easy to have many persons having the same fingerprints for cheap captors you have in laptop or mobiles. You can also fool them.

It can be convenient, but not secure for sure.

It´s extremely secure. We are not talking about a "fingerprint" datapoint, we are talking about a biometric scanner that measures a whole set of data points including thickness of skin, blood pressure, print pattern, etc. It is very secure indeed.

post #9 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

Does this mean that price of iPhone is going to get increased, while cheaper iPhone not really cheaper?

Huh?
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #10 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

Does this mean that price of iPhone is going to get increased, while cheaper iPhone not really cheaper?

Nah, it will just be synthetic/industrial sapphire, not the kind a girl wears.

post #11 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

One thing that does make sense about this story, however, is if they do add a fingerprint sensor to the home button, I see the fact that if it were to remain physically clickable as potentially confusing within that context. If there is no way to physically press the button down then the intuitive nature of holding your finger on the button to activate the unlocking fingerprint sensor would be very obvious.

Yes, this story rings true for me too.

post #12 of 89
I can feel a tsunami of excitement building for the next iPhone iteration.
post #13 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogJack View Post

I can feel a tsunami of excitement building for the next iPhone iteration.

When it comes to iOS I can't contain my excitement. The wait is incredible. It's easily the most excited I've been for Apple since 2007.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #14 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

One thing that does make sense about this story, however, is if they do add a fingerprint sensor to the home button, I see the fact that if it were to remain physically clickable as potentially confusing within that context. If there is no way to physically press the button down then the intuitive nature of holding your finger on the button to activate the unlocking fingerprint sensor would be far more obvious. When the answer to the question of 'do you press it or not press it when holding your finger down?' is 'you can't press', then the question never arises.

 

I disagree that it would make things potentially confusing, as depending on the implementation (and I trust Apple to do so) it could be completely invisible in practice to the user. During setup, a helpful guide tells you to just run your thumb across the button, doing the scan. When turning on your device through the home button every time after, the finger is automatically scanned and the system authenticates you until the device is reloacked with no interruption. The only issue is when people turn on via the power button, but then unlocking could just present the password screen as usual, with the text such as "If you are Ireland, press the Home button to unlock".

post #15 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Barriault View Post

I disagree that it would make things potentially confusing, as depending on the implementation (and I trust Apple to do so) it could be completely invisible in practice to the user. During setup, a helpful guide tells you to just run your thumb across the button, doing the scan. When turning on your device through the home button every time after, the finger is automatically scanned and the system authenticates you until the device is reloacked with no interruption. The only issue is when people turn on via the power button, but then unlocking could just present the password screen as usual, with the text such as "If you are Ireland, press the Home button to unlock".

This is why it could be confusing. That's certainly an un-Apple solution, sry.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #16 of 89

"...Well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said..."

 

I hope for poor Ming's sake that he gets most of his predictions right because otherwise he's going to have to lose his ubiquitous trademark 'well connected' epithet.

post #17 of 89

I'm hoping for a laser powered fingernail trimmer on the home button.

post #18 of 89

the home button should go away for the same reason that the keyboard needed to go. It is useless mod of the time.

 

Give the same functionality to the power button or something to have a safe way out, but eliminate that and cram a bigger screen on it.

post #19 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


I disagree. The physical home button was the single greatest design achievements of the iPhone. But yes, sadly it has reliability issues, although I've never personally had one fail and I've owned all the iPhones. I'm as careful as it gets with my stuff, though. The home button should be more reliable.

Yes, having it be a capacitive concave thumb dip would solve any reliability issues, but I think the intuitive nature of it might be lost - though I'd love if I was proved wrong about that. It certainly might conceivably be given to far more accidental presses, which would be a hindrance.

One thing that does make sense about this story, however, is if they do add a fingerprint sensor to the home button, I see the fact that if it were to remain physically clickable as potentially confusing within that context. If there is no way to physically press the button down then the intuitive nature of holding your finger on the button to activate the unlocking fingerprint sensor would be very obvious. When the answer to the question of 'do you press it or not press it when holding your finger down?' is 'you can't press', then the question never arises.

 

This may tell you did not use a single iPhone for a longer time. On longer runs, the Home Button causes problem - you end up pressing the home button very harder into the phone and you end up with no luck in seeing home screen. 

post #20 of 89
Scratch-resistant touch-sensitive button?



We'll put that name to the test...
Apple managed the astonishing feat of getting the equivalent of a personal computer into the hands of everybody from eight to eighty year olds, and did so while providing absolutely no instructions...
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Apple managed the astonishing feat of getting the equivalent of a personal computer into the hands of everybody from eight to eighty year olds, and did so while providing absolutely no instructions...
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post #21 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


I disagree. The physical home button was the single greatest design achievements of the iPhone. But yes, sadly it has reliability issues, although I've never personally had one fail and I've owned all the iPhones. I'm as careful as it gets with my stuff, though. The home button should be more reliable.

Yes, having it be a capacitive concave thumb dip would solve any reliability issues, but I think the intuitive nature of it might be lost - though I'd love if I was proved wrong about that. It certainly might conceivably be given to far more accidental presses, which would be a hindrance.

One thing that does make sense about this story, however, is if they do add a fingerprint sensor to the home button, I see the fact that if it were to remain physically clickable as potentially confusing within that context. If there is no way to physically press the button down then the intuitive nature of holding your finger on the button to activate the unlocking fingerprint sensor would be very obvious. When the answer to the question of 'do you press it or not press it when holding your finger down?' is 'you can't press', then the question never arises.

 

This may tell you did not use a single iPhone for a longer time. On longer runs, the Home Button causes problem - you end up pressing the home button very harder into the phone and you end up with no luck in seeing home screen. 

I wonder. Do you guys even know that blackberry live is live (lol) right now?

 

Only the verge is covering, no one else gives a damn anymore. No ads, no news, no rumours... Only the home button matter.

post #22 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by hydr View Post

It´s extremely secure. We are not talking about a "fingerprint" datapoint, we are talking about a biometric scanner that measures a whole set of data points including thickness of skin, blood pressure, print pattern, etc. It is very secure indeed.

Blood pressure too eh? Clever. So .... cutting off a finger won't work then! So much for all the TV shows and films that do that then. I just hope the street gangs know this fact. 1biggrin.gif

If this does happen, how long before the Scamsung paid shills start pressing their fingers too hard then?
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post #23 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

Scratch-resistant touch-sensitive button?



We'll put that name to the test...

Can you imagine the same guys that found that power button bug (press the button x times during y seconds, stay pressed, etc) trying to scratch it?

post #24 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

I wonder. Do you guys even know that blackberry live is live (lol) right now?

 

Only the verge is covering, no one else gives a damn anymore. No ads, no news, no rumours... Only the home button matter.

 

It's also possible that BlackBerry is a separate company that isn't really relevant to the interests of the community here. Or more accurately, we're sticking to what the thread is about - fingerprint sensor on the home button.

post #25 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

I wonder. Do you guys even know that blackberry live is live (lol) right now?

Only the verge is covering, no one else gives a damn anymore. No ads, no news, no rumours... Only the home button matter.

What are you talking about?
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #26 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Barriault View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

I wonder. Do you guys even know that blackberry live is live (lol) right now?

 

Only the verge is covering, no one else gives a damn anymore. No ads, no news, no rumours... Only the home button matter.

 

It's also possible that BlackBerry is a separate company that isn't really relevant to the interests of the community here. Or more accurately, we're sticking to what the thread is about - fingerprint sensor on the home button.

That wasn't my point.

 

The fact that no tech site cares about it is my point.

post #27 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Blood pressure too eh? Clever. So .... cutting off a finger won't work then! So much for all the TV shows and films that do that then. I just hope the street gangs know this fact. 1biggrin.gif

If this does happen, how long before the Scamsung paid shills start pressing their fingers too hard then?

Years ago Mythbusters did an episode on such security. Bypassing the fingerprint scanner, which the vendor said had never been bypassed, was easily bypassed. This super advanced sensors also measured if the finger was alive but licking the finger made of the user's fingerprint was enough to fool the device. I don't know more modern devices measure blood pressure but I bet they can be fooled by simulating the same pressure found in humans (it can't be the same as when the scan was input as this varies) or use whatever method it uses (e.g.: sound, radio, etc.) to mimic the same resistance as with blood within a certain range of pressure. There are just too many technologies that mimic human blood and tissue that I don't think any biometric will be hard to bypass. I bet that any biometric Apple adds will be bypassed in less time than it takes to jailbreak the next iOS version.

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post #28 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

I wonder. Do you guys even know that blackberry live is live (lol) right now?

Only the verge is covering, no one else gives a damn anymore. No ads, no news, no rumours... Only the home button matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

That wasn't my point.

The fact that no tech site cares about it is my point.

AI covers a lot of tech. You've never see the "I thought this was AppleInsider not SamsungInsider" posts?

I think the reason no one cares about this event is because it seems, at least to me, that BB just had an event. These are not only so close together but so similar in appearance that I'm certain there is a glitch in the Matrix. Follow the white rabbit.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #29 of 89

I have never had one to fail either.  I had the original and the 3GS now the 5.  I keep the others for quite a while. The mute switch on the other hand did go out.

post #30 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifij775 View Post

That home button was an engineering disaster
I thought it was upgraded on the iPhone 5...?

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #31 of 89
I've owned 4 different iPhone models and each one had its Home button become unreliable in less than two years. None failed outright, but eventually, I had to press the Home button very hard on some models and on others, it would get confused between single and double-clicks.
post #32 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

the home button should go away for the same reason that the keyboard needed to go. It is useless mod of the time.

Give the same functionality to the power button or something to have a safe way out, but eliminate that and cram a bigger screen on it.

Or better make the screen itself finger sensible with endless possibilities for new ui or game interactions.
post #33 of 89

If the home button ceases to be a physical button, this will be the boldest move since the introduction of the iPhone. There's just something inherently satisfying, and confidence inducing, and actually having the button depress. I despise capacitive buttons. If Apple can figure out a way to give a decent amount of feedback while preventing accidental usage, then I agree, it would be an improvement. But the current button is definitely a major part of the iPhone's intuitiveness. 

post #34 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Barriault View Post

I just can't see the physical home button going away, as while the mechanism can certainly be improved, physical buttons are so much more reliable than capacitive buttons when it comes to feel. I do like the use of sapphire crystal though, would definitely give it a signature feel, and a fingerprint sensor is a very secure, proven reliable form of security (especially when compared to facial recognition).

 

Yeah, this seems like three rumours rolled into one.  The rumour that they will have a fingerprint sensor in the phone, the rumour that it will be placed under the home button and the rumour that the home button will "go capacitive."  

 

I would rate their likelihood in that order as well. 

 

- It's pretty much for certain that they will eventually add a fingerprint sensor.  

- It's seems unlikely that they would put it under the home button.

- There is little to no upside (and a lot of downside) to making the home button capacitive.

post #35 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

If the home button ceases to be a physical button, this will be the boldest move since the introduction of the iPhone. There's just something inherently satisfying, and confidence inducing, and actually having the button depress. I despise capacitive buttons. If Apple can figure out a way to give a decent amount of feedback while preventing accidental usage, then I agree, it would be an improvement. But the current button is definitely a major part of the iPhone's intuitiveness. 

It's also the only truly iconic thing on the front of the iPhone.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #36 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifij775 View Post

That home button was an engineering disaster

 

Not only offensive and stupid and based on nothing, this statement doesn't even make sense.  

 

While the home button has looked the same on the surface, it's been completely re-engineered several times already.  You'd have to say which particular version you find faulty (and you might want to actually say why as well) before your comment even makes minimal sense.  

post #37 of 89
Originally Posted by ifij775 View Post
That home button was an engineering disaster

 

You're obviously not talking about the iPhone's, so you must be referring to anything on any Android device.

 

I agree.


Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post
the home button should go away for the same reason that the keyboard needed to go. It is useless mod of the time.

 

Even if that made sense, I'd disagree with you.

 

Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
It's also the only truly iconic thing on the front of the iPhone.

 

What about all the icons? 1tongue.gif

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #38 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by hydr View Post

It´s extremely secure. We are not talking about a "fingerprint" datapoint, we are talking about a biometric scanner that measures a whole set of data points including thickness of skin, blood pressure, print pattern, etc. It is very secure indeed.

 

I mostly agree, but people always forget that fingerprinting as a method, is not 100% reliable because fingerprints are not actually unique.  It is rare for two people to have the same fingerprints and also be in the same town or committing the same crime so they work fairly well for police purposes.  They are not the infallible, unique identifiers that people think they are however. 

post #39 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Years ago Mythbusters did an episode on such security. Bypassing the fingerprint scanner, which the vendor said had never been bypassed, was easily bypassed. This super advanced sensors also measured if the finger was alive but licking the finger made of the user's fingerprint was enough to fool the device. I don't know more modern devices measure blood pressure but I bet they can be fooled by simulating the same pressure found in humans (it can't be the same as when the scan was input as this varies) or use whatever method it uses (e.g.: sound, radio, etc.) to mimic the same resistance as with blood within a certain range of pressure. There are just too many technologies that mimic human blood and tissue that I don't think any biometric will be hard to bypass. I bet that any biometric Apple adds will be bypassed in less time than it takes to jailbreak the next iOS version.

They used an either an optical or capacitance fingerprint scanner that reads surface-level prints:



The Authentec technology Apple bought reads under the skin:

http://www.fastcompany.com/1843949/apple-buys-fingerprint-sensor-maker-authentec-which-perfected-tech-hospitals-and-prisons

It might be possible to recreate a rubber finger from a fingerprint that can fool that type of scanner but it shouldn't be as simple as the Mythbuster's tests. It doesn't really matter though because important authentication should be combined with a changeable key anyway. The scanner is just a convenient way to unlock the phone. If someone stole the phone, maybe they'd have the equipment to lift prints from the glass and then recreate a finger from it to then unlock the device but it's not likely and by the time they figure it out, the user could possibly do a remote wipe and if the theft was for the phone itself, it's not a big deal - the thief will just wipe the phone.

Passcodes are going to be a thing of the past eventually:

http://www.engadget.com/2013/05/11/paypal-chief-information-security-officer-passwords/

Apple did a very smart thing buying Authentec.

Concerning the sapphire crystal, it would be good if they could cover the whole front of the phone with it for durability and it would be seamless. One thing I don't like about the physical home button is the inconsistency with the feel. Some buttons are harder to press than others and broken ones make the phone or iPad pretty much unusable. There would have to be a difference in how it's pressed. Swipe left/right could be back/forward (to help with the back button placement), swipe down to go home, swipe up for multi-tasking. Tap-hold can also be home and double-tap can be Siri.

As far as the user is concerned, it would behave much like the old button and have instant recognition to turn the device on but it gives them the option to scale down the area it uses up and there should be more room inside the phone as the button doesn't have to be pressed down.
post #40 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

 

This may tell you did not use a single iPhone for a longer time. On longer runs, the Home Button causes problem - you end up pressing the home button very harder into the phone and you end up with no luck in seeing home screen. 

 

This is stupid.  it's like you are purposely trying to create an Urban Legend or something.  

 

I've had all the iPhones as well, and used them day in and day out.  I even have triple-click enabled on all my phones.  

I've never had a Home button fail and I haven't run into many that have.  

 

I work in tech and see dozens of iPhones and iPads daily for years now.  I help fix them for people and train them on the software.  

I've run into maybe two or three folks that had trouble with the Home button in all that time.  

 

There was really only a single version of the iPhone that even had *any* trouble with the button (the iPhone 4), and it was re-engineered shortly after fixing those problems.  

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