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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 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).
  • Reply 2 of 89
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    A fingerprint sensor seems like something they could test on the MacBooks first, before deploying on the iPhone. To get all the kinks out.
  • Reply 3 of 89
    oomuoomu Posts: 127member
    "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.
  • Reply 4 of 89
    ifij775ifij775 Posts: 470member
    That home button was an engineering disaster
  • Reply 5 of 89
    chandra69chandra69 Posts: 638member


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

  • Reply 6 of 89
    irelandireland Posts: 17,521member
    ifij775 wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 89
    hydrhydr Posts: 146member

    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.

  • Reply 8 of 89
    irelandireland Posts: 17,521member
    chandra69 wrote: »
    Does this mean that price of iPhone is going to get increased, while cheaper iPhone not really cheaper?

    Huh?
  • Reply 9 of 89
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    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.

  • Reply 10 of 89
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    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.

  • Reply 11 of 89
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,061member
    I can feel a tsunami of excitement building for the next iPhone iteration.
  • Reply 12 of 89
    irelandireland Posts: 17,521member
    analogjack wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 13 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".

  • Reply 14 of 89
    irelandireland Posts: 17,521member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 89
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,061member


    "...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.

  • Reply 16 of 89
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,061member


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

  • Reply 17 of 89
    pedromartinspedromartins Posts: 1,333member


    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.

  • Reply 18 of 89
    chandra69chandra69 Posts: 638member

    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. 

  • Reply 19 of 89
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    Scratch-resistant touch-sensitive button?

    [IMG]http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/25038/width/200/height/400[/IMG]

    We'll put that name to the test...
  • Reply 20 of 89
    pedromartinspedromartins Posts: 1,333member

    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.

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