Good-bye, Home button? What iOS 10 reveals about the future of the iPhone

“It seems every week we get a new rumor about the iPhone 7, but one thing we know for sure is that it was designed to run iOS 10,” Oscar Raymundo writes for Macworld. “So can we draw any conclusion about the upcoming iPhone from Apple’s latest mobile OS?”

“Good-bye, Home button? Hello, Apple Pencil? 16GB iPhones forever?” Raymundo writes. “The upcoming iPhone may not have all these drastic changes, but iOS 10 does give us a few indications as to Apple’s plan for the future of its mobile devices.”

In this week’s episode of The iPhone Show, Raymundo attempts to decipher what the future of the iPhone might look like based on the iOS 10 public beta that was released last week:

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Direct link to video here.

MacDailyNews Take: Besides the myriad UX design possibilities, losing the Home button opens up intriguing physical possibilities ranging from more screen real estate in the same sizes as current iPhones, iPad, and iPod touch devices to current-sized screens in smaller- (shorter-) bodied iOS devices. Apple likely already does know how to integrate Touch ID into the display:

• Apple granted key U.S patent for Touch ID fingerprint recognition integrated into Multi-Touch display – May 18, 2016
• Apple supplier LG Innotek embeds fingerprint sensor into display – May 4, 2016
• 3D fingerprint sensors under Gorilla Glass may let Apple kill iPhone’s Home button – July 21, 2015
• Apple working on eliminating the Home button on iPhone, iPad, sources say – June 22, 2015
• Apple files for patent to move Touch ID fingerprint scanner from home button to display – February 9, 2015

7 Comments

    1. the use case Steve referred to was mandatory manipulation of screen elements for every action, like the venerable Palm Pilot, not the use case offered for iPad Pro and maybe iPhone for usage of a multifunction stylus for graphical content creation. So no “yuck” for everyday usage. Interestingly the Pencil is appealing enough that early adopters do like it for more general usage too.
      dan

      1. This is correct. And I get tired of seeing people repeat the same thing.

        Steve Jobs said YUK to oke thing: having to rely on a stylus as the SOLE INPUT METHOD. He ushered in a new method that would supplant and effectively replace stylus input: multi-touch.

        The stylus today now serves second fiddle to how people interact with mobile devices. The primary input mode is multi-touch, secondary is stylus input and voice.

        He stylus serves a niche market of people who want to create art, graphics professionals, etc. The stylus is an option a person can buy. iPads and iPhones work as they always have. The stylus is just another feature that DOES NOT disrupt in any fashion the way these devices work.

        It’s simply a value add.

  1. Home button is not going away.

    There are ways to combine display and fingerprint sensor, but they make both things worse, let alone costly. What would make things even more costly is the fact that when your iPhone’s screen
    is not lit you will have no idea where to put your finger, so Apple will have to make whole screen as fingerprint reader. There are many years ahead before it will be economically feasible even if Apple will be able to overcome technical difficulties.

    Another issue is that fingerprint sensor consumes energy, and Apple uses metal ring to activate it. If Apple will get rid of the button they will not have a way to determine when to activate the fingerprint reading part of the display. And Apple can not have touch as a switch since it also requires energy, and it is turned off (until your iPhone is activated some way).

    So unless there will be a revolution in battery technology when your iPhone will be able to have, say, 10 W-h battery instead of 6.55 W-h like currently, home button will not go away even if Apple will overcome technical difficulties and economic constrains.

  2. The fact that iOS 10 has optimization features for 16GB phones does not necessarily mean that the iPhone 7 will have a 16GB version – iOS 10 is being optimized to work on older phones as well. They know the horrible experience they have put their customers through – the fact that they are optimizing the iOS to work with 16GB means that they are acting like we expect Apple to do – improve the experience. I think they need, as far as new hardware is concerned, to leave 16GB models squarely in the rearview mirror, but yes, please, make iOS 10 work well on my current phone and the models from previous years that Apple sells to that part of the market that opts for $0 iPhone contracts.

  3. There have been rumors of losing the Home Button for YEARS. Never happened. The benefits of having a physical Home Button are enormous. The benefits of somehow pushing it into being on the touch screen have never made sense to me. But we’ll see!

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