Apple again rumored to axe iPhone home button in 2017

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2016
Apple is again rumored to be on track to remove the iconic physical home button from its flagship mobile product, the iPhone, when a next-generation version of the device launches next year.


Home button-less iPhone concept via Martin Hajek.


Mentioned as part of Bloomberg's report on Apple's supposed decision to include FeliCa tap-to-pay support in an upcoming iPhone, the home button-less smartphone is thought to see release next year as part of a dramatic redesign.

The report jibes with information from AppleInsider's own sources, who two years ago said removing the home button from iPhone is a longterm goal for Apple that could happen as soon as 2017.

Rumors that Apple was on the verge of removing the home button from its mobile lineup date back to at least 2011. It was plausible that the component could be replaced by a software analog -- which would free up precious space for a larger display -- until the company introduced Touch ID in 2013. Touch ID is completely integrated into Apple's home button design, from the steel actuator ring to the fingerprint sensor seated beneath a sapphire glass cover.

More recently, reports claim this year's iPhone refresh will feature a solid-state pressure-sensitive "Force Touch ID" module. While not a complete button replacement, utilization of such a component would be a step toward realizing that goal.

Apple is unlikely to ditch Touch ID -- or the functionality of a home button -- meaning the company must somehow integrate the technology directly into iPhone's display. Rumblings from the Far East last year indicated that Apple was in the midst of developing touch and display driver single-chip solutions that would allow for a fingerprint sensor to be embedded in the handset's display.

Apple normally redesigns iPhone every two year, though this year's release is not expected to follow tradition. Instead, the so-called "iPhone 7" is rumored to look largely similar to current iPhone 6-series handsets, with upgraded internals like an upgraded camera -- dual camera system for the 5.5-inch model -- headlining the list of improvements.

The 2017 model, however, is said to bring a completely revamped design with dual curved glass panels and an OLED display. Explaining the off-year cycle, a New York Times report claimed Apple was waiting on certain advanced technology to mature before committing to a redesign. It could be that a screen-integrated virtual home button was one of the systems holding up development.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Still
    no deterence to my upgrading this year. And next year as well.
    edited August 2016 brian greenlolliverredgeminiparob55repressthisbadmonk
  • Reply 2 of 23
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    I find it funny how that concept iPhone still has a headphone jack. He should have went all the way.
    Solibrian greenlolliverlarryaappledapplewilliamlondonirelandrepressthisxzu
  • Reply 3 of 23
    How exciting...!
  • Reply 4 of 23
    cali said:
    I find it funny how that concept iPhone still has a headphone jack. He should have went all the way.
    Concept is from 2013.
    repressthis
  • Reply 5 of 23
    cintoscintos Posts: 113member
    Reviews of the iPhone 7 rarely mention the new A10 processor - even when published by Apple-centric sites like Appleinsider. http://bgr.com/2016/08/23/iphone-7-vs-iphone-6s-vs-galaxy-note-7/
  • Reply 6 of 23
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,783member
    But they'll bring back the headphone jack in a Samsung-esque u-turn.
  • Reply 7 of 23
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,397member
    2012 - no home button in the next iPhone.
    2013 - no home button in the next iPhone.
    2014 - no home button in the next iPhone.
    2015 - no home button in the next iPhone.
    2016 - no home button in the next iPhone.

    And then when it finally comes true...

    See, we told you.
    mejsriclolliverDeelronTurboPGTnolamacguynetmagetopper24hoursrepressthisxzulilsmirky
  • Reply 8 of 23
    mcdave said:
    But they'll bring back the headphone jack in a Samsung-esque u-turn.
    ...on the top...? :)
    baconstanggoodbyeranch
  • Reply 9 of 23
    cintos said:
    Reviews of the iPhone 7 rarely mention the new A10 processor - even when published by Apple-centric sites like Appleinsider. http://bgr.com/2016/08/23/iphone-7-vs-iphone-6s-vs-galaxy-note-7/
    Lol... "reviews" of an unreleased phone???!
    I'm not sure English is your strong suit.
    lolliverredgeminipanetmage
  • Reply 10 of 23
    surely they could put touchID on the back of the phone and use ForceTouch as the home button?
  • Reply 11 of 23
    Forgive me as I've not extensively researched this, but when Apple removes the Home button what does that really mean?  I press that button many times when using my iPhone to get me out of the current program and back to the Home screen.  How can they remove such an important feature?  I remember when there was an Apple tag line that said "It just works...", well that Home Button is one thing that still carries on that mantra.  It just works.

    I currently am still using an iPhone 5S which works for me, but it doesn't have this Force-Touch feature so I'm not used to it nor do I know how it can help replace the Home Button. 

    Anyway, I'm happy with anything whenever I upgrade and I'm sure Apple will provide a great experience but honestly I really like that Home button and use it all time and feeling a little uncomfortable that it may go away.  I might be a bit old school (obviously as I'm still using an 5S) and yes, I know it is all rumors for now...but still.
  • Reply 12 of 23
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,878member
    Is it really a rumor if it's been predicted for years?

    TurboPGT
  • Reply 13 of 23
    I agree the mechanical home button should be phased out.
    However, such design change will be very dramatic: that is the most used button on the iPhone and people are really used to it.
    I don't  think there will be a problem by integrating TouchID on the screen. Nonetheless, Im curious about how will Apple solve all the other uses of the Home button, in a way that's still familiar to people and dead easy to do as it is today.
    It's such an iconic and vital part of the phone that removing it will be polemic, no matter how clever solution Apple comes with.
    nolamacguyrepressthis
  • Reply 14 of 23
    jblongzjblongz Posts: 154member
    Of course they will phase-out the home button.  This is what spawned the Force Touch experiment.
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 15 of 23
    I know this is from a different rumor but they could have just the digital crown integrated and that could handle the primary function of the home button, volume button and power / sleep button. Then they would just have to figure out how to get finger scanning in the screen which blows my mind a bit but would be cool.
    repressthis
  • Reply 16 of 23
    TurboPGTTurboPGT Posts: 355member
    WSJ just has their sources mixed up. The mechanical button is going away this year, but the Home Button itself.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    jahajajahaja Posts: 23member
    seanie248 said:
    surely they could put touchID on the back of the phone and use ForceTouch as the home button?
    Exactly. The second finger often ends up there anyway. Then home buttons other function could be either on the same location at the back or with some new sidebutton. 

    In fact fingerpeint sensor could be all over back of phone and thus utilizing any of five fingers that is correct, making error rates much much less compared with current model. 

    Also, true tevolutionary would be with wireless audio and charging, thereby scraping all ports and making it 100% waterproof. This must be the target design.

    Although speakers and microphone are still an entry point... Might be possible to isolate from other parts inside though...?
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 18 of 23
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    evilution said:
    2012 - no home button in the next iPhone.
    2013 - no home button in the next iPhone.
    2014 - no home button in the next iPhone.
    2015 - no home button in the next iPhone.
    2016 - no home button in the next iPhone.

    And then when it finally comes true...

    See, we told you.
    I doubt we'll see the home button removed as it's a trademark part of the iPhone. The most likely thing is that mechanical buttons and the home button will get hermetically sealed and epoxied to the frame of the phone.
    TurboPGTxzu
  • Reply 19 of 23
    TurboPGTTurboPGT Posts: 355member
    sog35 said:
    This is logical.

    The next step in smartphones is to make them have a smaller footprint while having the same size screen. The display of the 6+ is actually smaller than the total footprint of the 6. So if Apple could get near zero bezel phone than you could have the screen size of a 6+ with the pocketability of the 6. 

    Next would be foldable screens and projected image screens.

    These 3 advances will take at least 10 years to be fully realized.

    Its crazy that people say smartphone tech has peaked, when the display is still a decade away from being maxed out.
    Its crazy when people tote ^ these kinds of things as advancements in smartphone tech.
  • Reply 20 of 23
    amarkap said:
    Forgive me as I've not extensively researched this, but when Apple removes the Home button what does that really mean?  I press that button many times when using my iPhone to get me out of the current program and back to the Home screen.  How can they remove such an important feature?  I remember when there was an Apple tag line that said "It just works...", well that Home Button is one thing that still carries on that mantra.  It just works.

    I currently am still using an iPhone 5S which works for me, but it doesn't have this Force-Touch feature so I'm not used to it nor do I know how it can help replace the Home Button. 

    Anyway, I'm happy with anything whenever I upgrade and I'm sure Apple will provide a great experience but honestly I really like that Home button and use it all time and feeling a little uncomfortable that it may go away.  I might be a bit old school (obviously as I'm still using an 5S) and yes, I know it is all rumors for now...but still.
    The functionality will still be there, it will just be there with a virtual button that disappears when it's not needed. This is how it works with Android and is one of the few features of my (work-provided) Moto X that I like about the platform (along with home screen widgets - those rock). It allows the use of the full screen for video and for other content, while the equivalent of the home button (along with Android-specific buttons like back and task manager) slide into place when appropriate.

    Not everything about Android sucks - just most things.
    edited August 2016 repressthis
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