No, Apple won't move the home button and Touch ID to the back of the 'iPhone 8'

Posted:
in iPhone edited April 2017
It's silly season in "iPhone 8" rumor reporting, with the latest supposed "leaked schematics" claiming the handset will move the home button and Touch ID fingerprint sensor to the back of the device, and also feature a chassis considerably thicker than even the iPhone SE. AppleInsider attempts to bring some sanity to the discussion.




Early Thursday morning, AppleInsider was tipped to a new post on Slashleaks showing off what was claimed to be "iPhone 8 schematics." The images purport to show a next-generation iPhone design with a home button, presumably with Touch ID, on the back of the device, as well as a vertical camera array.
Apple's thickest flagship handset since 2011? What a way that would be to celebrate the iPhone's 10th anniversary.
The image shows dimensions for the so-called "iPhone 8" with a device thickness of over 8.6 millimeters. That would be 1.5 millimeters thicker than the iPhone 7, and even a full millimeter thicker than the iPhone SE -- a form factor Apple pioneered back in 2012.

To take this supposed leak at face value would mean that Apple -- a company openly obsessed with making its products thinner and lighter -- would build a flagship handset thicker than any flagship smartphone it has released since the iPhone 4s arrived in 2011. At 8.6 millimeters, it would be slightly thinner than the plastic iPhone 5c, a budget model that came in at just under 9 millimeters thick.

In other words, this supposed "iPhone 8" would be closer in thickness to an iPhone 5c than an iPhone SE.

What a way that would be to celebrate the iPhone's 10th anniversary.

These kinds of highly questionable rumors are nothing new. Just last week a separate "iPhone 8" schematic surfaced online. AppleInsider was reluctant to cover it, but did so with a headline calling the drawings "likely bogus," in an attempt to discourage fanatical reporting on such leaks without any proper context or analysis.


'iPhone 8' concept rendering by Marek Weidlich.


Rumors that the "iPhone 8" will ditch the physical home button in favor of an edge-to-edge display have persisted for some time, and where there is smoke, there is usually fire. It has yet to be seen how Apple will handle issues like navigation and Touch ID without a dedicated home button, and some reports have suggested Apple is having trouble integrating a fingerprint sensor into the iPhone's display.

Apple has paved the way for a virtual home button with the iPhone 7 -- it already features a home button that does not click, instead emulating the sensation of a click with the proprietary Taptic Engine. It's easy to see how that could allow a future iPhone to do away with the home button entirely, while still offering the sensation of a click when pressing a specific area on the display.

The "iPhone 8" is also rumored to include facial recognition technology for secure biometric logins, but such capabilities seem likely to be offered in tandem with a fingerprint scanner, given that there are situations where one might be preferable over the other.

What does that mean for Touch ID? It's hard to say, though it's also hard to see Apple completely ditching the near-instant fingerprint scanning technology it brought to the masses, especially considering how critical it is for Apple Pay authorization.


"iPhone 8" OLED concept via iMore.


Sometimes we choose to cover stories that are of interest to our readers with the sole purpose to explain why the story itself is likely wrong. Because we tread heavily in upcoming product rumors (glass houses, etc.), we cannot actually prove whether this information is right or wrong. But it is our mission at AppleInsider to do our best to provide factual context that better informs readers.

All of that is to say that it is theoretically possible that the technical limitations of putting Touch ID into the "iPhone 8" display could, actually, force Apple to move the fingerprint sensor to the back of this year's flagship handset.

But doing so would be a huge blow to the ease of use and intuitiveness of the current home button Touch ID design. And that seems out of whack with Apple's philosophy.

And even if the highly unlikely does happen, you can be sure it won't be represented by the latest supposed "schematic" making the rounds. Because more than likely, that image is a big, fat, 8.6-millimeter-thick lie.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,297member
    It would be crazy to do that especially if they'd only be doing it because of engineering issues with embedding Touch ID in display as one would assume once those issues are solved Touch ID would mce back to the front of the device. 
    clemynxcornchip
  • Reply 2 of 45
    So theoretically it can happen yet your headline makes it sound like it definitely won't. It's a rumour, just like the rumour that it would be embedded in the glass. Theoretically either one can be correct at this point.
    qwweramazda 3scornchip
  • Reply 3 of 45
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Dracarys said:
    So theoretically it can happen yet your headline makes it sound like it definitely won't. It's a rumour, just like the rumour that it would be embedded in the glass. Theoretically either one can be correct at this point.
    I think the point was that anything is possible, but only some things make sense. 
    nhughescalijbdragonpscooter63
  • Reply 4 of 45
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 770editor
    Dracarys said:
    So theoretically it can happen yet your headline makes it sound like it definitely won't. It's a rumour, just like the rumour that it would be embedded in the glass. Theoretically either one can be correct at this point.
    We're dealing in rumors. Apple could theoretically not release an iPhone this year. They could theoretically say they have perfected the smartphone for all time and shut down the damn company, for all we know. I cannot definitively prove either of those to be untrue, even though we all know they are not true.

    Anyhow, it's clearly labeled as an editorial, not news. And that's precisely why.
    fotoformatStrangeDaysretrogustojSnivelymejsriccornchippscooter63radarthekat
  • Reply 5 of 45
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,825member
    nhughes said:
    Dracarys said:
    So theoretically it can happen yet your headline makes it sound like it definitely won't. It's a rumour, just like the rumour that it would be embedded in the glass. Theoretically either one can be correct at this point.
    We're dealing in rumors. Apple could theoretically not release an iPhone this year. They could theoretically say they have perfected the smartphone for all time and shut down the damn company, for all we know. I cannot definitively prove either of those to be untrue, even though we all know they are not true.

    Anyhow, it's clearly labeled as an editorial, not news. And that's precisely why.
    Apple could always make an iPhone with Touch ID through the screen for existing iPhone users, and another on the back for Android switchers.

    /s
    nhughesStrangeDaysretrogustomike1radarthekat
  • Reply 6 of 45
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,294member
    Out of curiosity, what would be the benefit of a vertical camera array? 
  • Reply 7 of 45
    kruegdudekruegdude Posts: 340member
    Ok, what's missing from the schematics is the hinge where the phone folds in two leaving the fingerprint scanner on the top. Problem solved. 
  • Reply 8 of 45
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,039member
    Does anyone think Apple would do a Schematic with Chinese characters. If anyone has seen a professional CAD drawing you would know this is not an Apple design document. It looks like someone played on google Sketchup and is trying to make everyone think it is real. Does anyone use critical thought when they see this stuff. Oh yeah I forgot we live in the era of fake news and all the people just believe what they see and read. This does not even rise to the level of a rumor.
    edited April 2017
  • Reply 9 of 45
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    tmay said:
    nhughes said:
    Dracarys said:
    So theoretically it can happen yet your headline makes it sound like it definitely won't. It's a rumour, just like the rumour that it would be embedded in the glass. Theoretically either one can be correct at this point.
    We're dealing in rumors. Apple could theoretically not release an iPhone this year. They could theoretically say they have perfected the smartphone for all time and shut down the damn company, for all we know. I cannot definitively prove either of those to be untrue, even though we all know they are not true.

    Anyhow, it's clearly labeled as an editorial, not news. And that's precisely why.
    Apple could always make an iPhone with Touch ID through the screen for existing iPhone users, and another on the back for Android switchers.

    /s
    If they want make Android switchers feel at home they could fit security that isn't secure, an eye scanner that comes with a health warning, and a small explosive under the battery. 
    caliretrogustopscooter63radarthekatchiaargonaut
  • Reply 10 of 45
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,454member
    Out of curiosity, what would be the benefit of a vertical camera array? 
    Better orientation for landscape photos, which most tend to be?
    clemynxdick applebaumboltsfan17
  • Reply 11 of 45
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 770editor
    Out of curiosity, what would be the benefit of a vertical camera array? 
    The only thing I can think of is 3D augmented reality support with rear cameras when held in landscape mode (left and right eyes).
    edited April 2017 qwweraboltsfan17
  • Reply 12 of 45
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,323member
    Dracarys said:
    So theoretically it can happen yet your headline makes it sound like it definitely won't. It's a rumour, just like the rumour that it would be embedded in the glass. Theoretically either one can be correct at this point.
    this piece is labeled as an Opinion piece. and in Neil's opinion, no that isn't happening. valid opinion.
    nhughes
  • Reply 13 of 45
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,323member

    tmay said:
    nhughes said:
    Dracarys said:
    So theoretically it can happen yet your headline makes it sound like it definitely won't. It's a rumour, just like the rumour that it would be embedded in the glass. Theoretically either one can be correct at this point.
    We're dealing in rumors. Apple could theoretically not release an iPhone this year. They could theoretically say they have perfected the smartphone for all time and shut down the damn company, for all we know. I cannot definitively prove either of those to be untrue, even though we all know they are not true.

    Anyhow, it's clearly labeled as an editorial, not news. And that's precisely why.
    Apple could always make an iPhone with Touch ID through the screen for existing iPhone users, and another on the back for Android switchers.

    /s
    Hah. Yes, the knockoff-propper-uppers would feel right at home  :)
    anome
  • Reply 14 of 45
    freeperfreeper Posts: 77member
    "But doing so would be a huge blow to the ease of use and intuitiveness of the current home button Touch ID design. And that seems out of whack with Apple's philosophy." Ummm ... headphone jack anyone? Also, before now the LCD screen and the 4' display were "huge blows to ease of use/philosophy." You can go on this very blog back in 2013 and 2014 and see endless columns and comments on how bigger phones were vulgar, unsightly, poorly designed, would not fit easily into pockets and made single hand operation impossible. Now Apple sells an iPhone Plus that is larger than any mainstream Android device except the Galaxy Note line and no one says a peep. Also, I doubt that Apple is having all the problems with TouchID on the AMOLED screen as is being reported. Samsung almost got it working, but was unable to meet the cutoff line needed to mass produce a device that is going to be shipped worldwide in 8 days. Had they been given another couple of months - or perhaps had used a lower profile device that they weren't expecting to ship in such large numbers - they may have made it. I fully expect the fingerprint sensor/home button to be on the screen for the Galaxy Note 8, and it may even be on their midrange Galaxy A series phones (that cost about the same as the iPhone SE) that gets released during the summer. So if Samsung nearly got it working for the S8 and will definitely have it for the Note 8, Apple will have no problem meeting an October ship date with that technology. Finally, Apple is only obsessed with lighter and thinner for their existing designs. A radical redesign however would justify a thicker device that they could then make "lighter and thinner" in subsequent iterations. You speak of the horror of having the 10th anniversary iPhone being thicker than the iPhone 4. I say that failing to offer a drastic redesign and essentially only offering an iPhone 7s with some gimmicks and whistles would be even worse. Especially considering how the competition - LG, Samsung, Huawei and if the rumors are to be believed Google with their Pixel 2 - are winning raves for their redesigned phones this year, especially Samsung and Huawei.
    avon b7
  • Reply 15 of 45
    The thing is, Apple of course has looked at and even produced versions with the TouchID button on the back, because it would be part of their process to determine how it would work for the UX.  But that being said, the button the back, especially in the middle as many Android phones have, is not easy to use.  Your fingers are always going to naturally sit at the edges of the phone.  Sure, you can slide your forefinger over to the middle of the phone, but it is a counter intuitive action to be pushing with one finger while holding the phone against that force (even if it's a small force).

    Apple would be better off creating two TouchID zones on the edges of the iPhone where your thumb and forefinger naturally fall when holding the phone, if they can't make the through-the-glass scanning work, IMHO.
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobrachia
  • Reply 16 of 45
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,454member

    Dracarys said:
    So theoretically it can happen yet your headline makes it sound like it definitely won't. It's a rumour, just like the rumour that it would be embedded in the glass. Theoretically either one can be correct at this point.
    I feel like if the future is Iris scanning and facial recognition, the only reason Apple would move the Touch ID to the rear is if they really wanted customers to use the new technology, and Touch ID was there as a backup until the new tech was perfected. So if it's not ready for this phone, and Apple has to move it to the rear, there's very little chance of it coming back unless Iris scanning and face recognition turn out to be an unreliable mess.
  • Reply 17 of 45
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,502member
    The thing is, Apple of course has looked at and even produced versions with the TouchID button on the back, because it would be part of their process to determine how it would work for the UX.  But that being said, the button the back, especially in the middle as many Android phones have, is not easy to use.  Your fingers are always going to naturally sit at the edges of the phone.  Sure, you can slide your forefinger over to the middle of the phone, but it is a counter intuitive action to be pushing with one finger while holding the phone against that force (even if it's a small force).

    Apple would be better off creating two TouchID zones on the edges of the iPhone where your thumb and forefinger naturally fall when holding the phone, if they can't make the through-the-glass scanning work, IMHO.
    Centre placed rear sensors work very well and feel natural. No counter force is required as you only have to place your finger on the scanner. When holding the phone, your index finger naturally adjusts the angle of the phone. It is the thumb and remaining fingers that normally hold it. It is true that with rear placed sensors you usually hold the phone higher in your hand. This has no negative impact on the ergonomics.
  • Reply 18 of 45
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,772member
    A thoughtful, timely, and well-reasoned piece. 
    nhugheswatto_cobrapscooter63
  • Reply 19 of 45
    Rayz2016 said:
    Dracarys said:
    So theoretically it can happen yet your headline makes it sound like it definitely won't. It's a rumour, just like the rumour that it would be embedded in the glass. Theoretically either one can be correct at this point.
    I think the point was that anything is possible, but only some things make sense. 
    Okay, in that respect I can understand.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 45
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,536member
    Out of curiosity, what would be the benefit of a vertical camera array? 
    I think most photos are taken in lanscape, even on a phone. Having the array like in the current iPhone 7 makes sense mostly for portrait photos, but doesn't work as good in landscape where the difference in depths mainly appears horizontally. That's why our eyes are horizontally aligned.
    qwweraboltsfan17
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