2017 iPhone will have 'virtual button' built into edge-to-edge display - report

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in iPhone
Next year's flagship iPhone will have a "full-screen face," with an embedded "virtual button," a report said on Tuesday, reinforcing some other recent rumors about Apple's expected redesign.

A 2017 iPhone mockup.
A 2017 iPhone mockup.


The new claim, an aside in the New York Times' iPhone 7 review, is said to stem from two anonymous sources at Apple. The people didn't reveal any other information about the future device, such as whether or not it will also embed other front-facing components like Touch ID or the FaceTime camera.

Even though the iPhone 7 is only set to ship on Friday, rumors have already begun to turn to its 2017 successor, which could be a major redesign marking the iPhone's 10th anniversary.

Its main feature is expected to be an edge-to-edge OLED display, which may even be curved on one of three models like Samsung's Edge-series phones. The product could offer iris scanning as a new security method.

Figuring out how to handle front-facing components may be one of Apple's tougher challenges. A "virtual button" would have to combine the iPhone 7's pressure-sensitive technology with some sort of onscreen representation, possibly even when the phone is otherwise sleeping. It's also unclear how Apple would handle Touch ID, one option in theory being turning to iris scanning as a replacement.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    Seems like they would have done this on the iPhone 7, but one of the issues I see (and maybe they're trying to figure this out) is spurious presses of the button if its a flat button with feedback using the taptic engine. The mockup isn't terrible and it would be nice to be able to change what buttons are on each side of the home button if they can also somehow control spurious inputs of those buttons. I can just picture accidentally turning on the flashlight in your pocket and it running the battery down, or turning the camera on and taking many many photos while in your pocket. 
    netmage
  • Reply 2 of 27
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Hahaha. The old "iPhone 7 mockup" is now a "2017 iPhone mockup".

    Can we hold the next iPhone rumors until iPhone 7 releases at least?
    tomkarlmike1albegarcnolamacguyicoco3
  • Reply 3 of 27
    Sounds great. Too bad the supply constraints will lead to limited availability at release.

    But seriously (sort of), they should update that mock-up with the current antenna lines, at least. And is that a headphone jack I see on the bottom left?
    edited September 2016 albegarcnolamacguynetmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 27
    "Full-screen face"? Shouldn't that more accurately be "full-face screen"?
    netmagepscooter63aylk
  • Reply 5 of 27
    macxpress said:
    I can just picture accidentally turning on the flashlight in your pocket and it running the battery down, or turning the camera on and taking many many photos while in your pocket. 
    I checked time while playing golf a few years ago, and next time I grabbed my phone, it nearly burned my hand. Turns out I accidentally swiped up to the camera mode while putting it in pocket. Poor thing was desperately trying to focus in a sea of black.
  • Reply 6 of 27

    These "leaks" may impact sales of current iPhones -- known as the Osborne effect.

    Where leaking ~= announcing:

    Apple didn't invent the portable computer. Neither did Toshiba. Or IBM.

    The first portable computer was created in April 1981 by a company called Osborne, led by a journalist turned entrepreneur named Adam Osborne.

    He was once seen as a contemporary to Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, and Osborne Computer was once the fastest-growing company in Silicon Valley history. But  the company collapsed in less than 30 months after being out-innovated, making some bad technical bets, and announcing a product too far ahead of delivery -- a classic mistake now called the "Osborne effect."

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-amazing-rise-and-fall-of-the-first-portable-computer-2011-4





    The Osborne 1 had a Z-80 processor (like Radio Shack’s TRS-80 and many other early systems) and a generous-for-the-time 64KB of RAM. It had two single-density floppy-disk drives, each of which stored a relatively skimpy 102KB of data, plus a handy pocket for extra disks. And it ran Digital Research’s CP/M, the popular operating system that was very much like Microsoft’s later MS-DOS.

    Even by 1981 standards, the Osborne 1’s 5″ monochrome CRT was puny; today, there are smartphones with displays as big. It could display only 52 columns of text at a time–less than the eighty you really wanted for word processing, but more than the Apple II’s forty. The screen size was chosen in part because 5″ displays were readily available, having been engineered for a 55-pound behemoth that IBM had optimistically marketed in 1975 as the IBM 5100 Portable Computer.


    http://www.technologizer.com/2011/04/01/osborne-computer/


    edited September 2016 TomE
  • Reply 7 of 27
    Iris Scanning to totally replace Touch ID just does not make sense. Apple is one with a design culture of 'what makes sense' and 'what comes naturally'. On that same principle, think about:
    • How does 'Apple Pay' fits in with Iris Scanning?
    • Does it make sense to perform 'Iris Scanning' to authenticate when making payment?
    I just cannot see Apple as another firm that blindly follows the industry of slapping latest tech, latest hardware into its iPhone just for the sake of being early adopter of newest technologies.
    netmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 27
    Screeny McScreenFace
    king editor the gratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 27
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,958member
    Does Apple know about this ?
    nolamacguyretrogustopscooter63watto_cobrafrantisek
  • Reply 10 of 27
    The tech-heads and tech critics will still say Apple is lacking innovation because some Android smartphone already had the feature. I'm rather certain Samsung must have tried just about everything possible to put in or on a smartphone. There's no way the iPhone could come up with some unique feature no other Android smartphone already had. There's dozens of Android smartphone manufacturers all trying to outdo one another with some unique features. The tech people are always going to be yawning when they see a new Apple iPhone. They'll all be chiming in "It's already been done and Apple is a follower, not a leader." So freaking stupid. I wonder if all tech companies have Apple's problem of being criticized for not having something completely original.
  • Reply 11 of 27
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,595member
    The best innovative new feature would be a self charging phone where the screen (and back?) is photovoltaic. We have heard talk about research being done in this area before. I am sure there are complex technological hurdles, but it is about the only 'revolutionary' feature I can think of.
  • Reply 12 of 27
    This rumor has come back at least once a year for teh last five years. It will probably eventually come true. But I's be very surprised it it was next year!
  • Reply 13 of 27
    I wonder when its going to dawn on people that Apple already majorly redesigned the Home Button (for the first time in 10 editions) in iPhone 7, and is not going to just abandon that and completely redesign it again next year.

    Big Fat NOPE gets stamped on this rumor.
    anomepscooter63
  • Reply 14 of 27
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,787member
    sog35 said:
    I think the 'home button' will be totally virtual next year.

    Here's how it will work:

    1. pick up the phone and screen will wake up automatically
    2. then you will see a circle at the bottom of the screen to put your finger print. Thats the virtual home button
    Many times I pick up my phone to simply put it in my pocket where having the screen activate would be a bad thing. I think everyone knows where the home button is located and if you are planning to use the phone, your finger is already in position.
  • Reply 15 of 27
    The iPhone X, perhaps. Skip 8 and 9, and to celebrate the 10th anniversary, opt for X instead. It'll match up with OSX, too.

  • Reply 16 of 27
    i always thought that the center button left a lot of unused space to the left and right of it. With such a change it's possible that like the virtual top row oled keys of the upcoming MacBooks, the same track pad idea with the oled row concept on the iPhone could open up huge possibilities other than just a "dumb" center button and so much wasted space. It would get rid if the silly "Reachability" option on the "Plus" and on the iPads and add features like text scrubbing and allow a whole lot more one handed usage. 
    I would not be surprised if this is how they handle it as it's the most practical use of that space, and only furthers what the iPhone 7 and new MacBooks are doing. I think it would be great. And the possibilities would be endless.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 27
    cali said:
    Hahaha. The old "iPhone 7 mockup" is now a "2017 iPhone mockup".

    Can we hold the next iPhone rumors until iPhone 7 releases at least?
    They just took the iPhone 7 rumors and applied them to the next model. As long as there is a new iPhone next year, these rumors will never die.
    anomewatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 27
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,976member
    The mockup looks stupid and worse than the current phone. The extra screen estate on top and the bottom bezels will fuck up the aspect ratio. What school did this mock-ip artist graduate from, Dummy University of Arts? Besides, what is the point of full screen display with unusable area at front camera, sensors, speaker, Touch ID...Apple will never do such things: add more screen area for virtually no benefit.
    netmageanomefastasleep
  • Reply 19 of 27
    sog35 said:
    qwwera said:
    i always thought that the center button left a lot of unused space to the left and right of it. With such a change it's possible that like the virtual top row oled keys of the upcoming MacBooks, the same track pad idea with the oled row concept on the iPhone could open up huge possibilities other than just a "dumb" center button and so much wasted space. It would get rid if the silly "Reachability" option on the "Plus" and on the iPads and add features like text scrubbing and allow a whole lot more one handed usage. 
    I would not be surprised if this is how they handle it as it's the most practical use of that space, and only furthers what the iPhone 7 and new MacBooks are doing. I think it would be great. And the possibilities would be endless.
    I like this idea. But would that virtual bottom row disappear when watching a video or using apps?

    Personally I'd like a virtual button that only appears:

    1. when you unlock the screen - by lifting phone (feature in iOS10) or clicking power button to wake up phone
    2. on home screen it would be in the middle of the bottom row of Apps
    3. When using Apps, swipe up to access home button

    I would imagine it be a separate low power screen that disappears when you watch a movie or are doing anything else and only appears when you double tap it or whennits wakened when you pick up the phone.
    Why light up the whole screen when woken as it does now?
    thats my thinking but maybe part of the whole screen. But i think an oled low power strip at the bottom like on the new upcoming MacBooks would be aesthetically more pleasing and more energy efficient. To make it all one big screen might require another screen ratio resolution change too.

    ...and as a second element it wouldn't break with existing iPhones or software. I think to do so otherwise might cause havoc nothing like the first resolution change. 
    The more i think of it the more i think this is how it would work. 
    It would certainly make ipads and pluses more  productive. Anyone remember the old Blackberry days? That little trackball could traverse the entite screen easily quickly and efficiently. Far fat better tjan reachability. 

    Heck, add it to both top and bottom so you don't have to worry which way you picked it up. In landscape it would be awesome for game controls and customizabilty. For drawing and photo apps have pallets on either side. I just think it would open iOS like with dynamite. 
    edited September 2016 watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 27
    anomeanome Posts: 1,269member
    fallenjt said:
    The mockup looks stupid and worse than the current phone. The extra screen estate on top and the bottom bezels will fuck up the aspect ratio. What school did this mock-ip artist graduate from, Dummy University of Arts? Besides, what is the point of full screen display with unusable area at front camera, sensors, speaker, Touch ID...Apple will never do such things: add more screen area for virtually no benefit.


    I've never liked that render. The hole in the middle of the screen for the speaker doesn't look like something Apple would do, and the icons either side of the Home Button are ugly, and don't really serve any purpose.

    I'm still thinking the next big thing in the Home Button will be to use the Taptic Engine to virtualise it. Along with a visual cue as to where you put your finger, it uses vibrations to make it feel like there's a raised button there, but only in the right context. This would also work if you couldn't see the screen properly. Put your finger near the home button, and feel a click or vibration that tells you where the button is.

    As for the Iris Scanner, I've said elsewhere, I think it's more useful as an accessibility option than as a full-on replacement for TouchID. Cool as it may be to look at your phone and have it unlock, it seems it would be less useful for me in most situations, but could be really useful for people with restricted movement in their hands or fingers.

    In any event, we're going to be hearing about this for the next year, and I'm guessing most of what we hear will be garbage. It might be a long time, but wait for the event next September. (Or January if they go for a full on 10th anniversary. Wait for an actual announcement at any rate.)

    watto_cobra
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