After President Trump laments loss of iPhone Home button, former Apple designer responds

Apple's iPhone X did away with the anachronistic Home button on November 3, 2017
Apple’s iPhone X did away with the anachronistic Home button on November 3, 2017

Last Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump offered feedback for Apple CEO Tim Cook regarding the company’s iPhone, especially its Home button or lack thereof. In a tweet, the leader of the world’s largest economy called out the Apple CEO and lamented the loss of the Home button on the company’s smartphones.

A former Apple user interface prototyping team member responded.

Luke Dormehl for Cult of Mac:

As an iPhone UI designer, you need to have a thick skin. First, you have to defend your idea internally at Apple. Then members of the public endlessly critique your work upon its release. The one thing you probably don’t expect, though? For the president of the United States to slam your painstaking creation.

That’s exactly what happened to former Apple user interface prototyping team member Linda Dong. In a Sunday tweet, she commented on President Donald Trump’s recent declaration about the iPhone X interface.

Dong left in April 2015, years before the iPhone X shipped in 2017, but it appears that the swipe-based interface was designed during this time.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, the Home button is an anachronism. The Home button is awful. Any user who gives the swipe-based UI five minutes will get used to the new, better way of doing things – it’s much more fluid and faster without the constant staccato interruption of clicking that damn antiquated Home button. Whenever we run into an old iPhone or iPad with a home button, we curse it.

Most of us accomplished our five-minute conversion back in 2017 with iPhone X, but government moves at a glacial pace at best, so it’s actually surprising that a Home button-free, gesture-based iPhone made it to the president this soon!

46 Comments

  1. Personally, I hate not having touch id anymore. face id might make unlocking your phone more convienient but it ruins apple pay and the app store.

    I now have to click the right button twice and use face id to make any purchases where as before, i would just put my tumb on the button and that was it. def a step back fpr some things/

      1. If you want to buy me an Apple Watch for the couple hours a day I can wear one, feel free. Some of us who work for a living are in places that don’t allow ‘net connected devices, so it’s not worth spending the money on.

    1. Agree. Face ID was implemented because there was no satisfactory way to continue Touch ID without a Home button. And the Swipe Up way is fine; I can use that gesture on my iPad OR press its Home button. I’ve tried using only Swipe Up (for more than “five minutes”), and I still go back to pressing Home button. If the new way is SO much better, I’d ignore Home button (except when I need Touch ID).

      Conclusion… If there’s a choice, Home button is more convenient and intuitive. Pressing down is easier than swiping up. These’s a tactile sensation. Apple knows this is important, because they went through the trouble of adding haptics to trackpads and some device screens, to add sensation of pressing down on a button.

    1. Or, to increase chance of prompting Siri, Apple Pay, turning the phone on, turning the phone off taking a screen shot (with press of left buttons) and increasing frustration because Apple chose money over good design ergonomics with the move of the button from top to right side.

  2. In practice I find there are many situations in which Face ID simply will not work. Like when I’m outside wearing sunglasses. Or sometimes when I’m wearing headphones. Or if the phone of iPad is flat on a surface with the camera not pointed at my face. So then I get the six-digit input. And invariably the input does not keep up with me or I slightly miss one of the numbers and have to start from scratch in frustration. So yes, there are plenty of situations in which the elegance of a one finger touch is missed.

      1. All you people who complain just don’t know the facts. iPhones let you register TWO faces. So do one of your normal face. Then do one outside with sunglasses on. Problem solved.

        Same with cpap machine. Do a Face ID with a normal face and then one with your c-crap machine on. See if it works!

  3. Hate but have to agree with DT. NEVER had to use my passcode with TouchID (aside from restarts, etc.). DAILY have to re-jigger, face the phone, and/or use the passcode with FaceID. Especially problematic when driving and the vehicle CarPlay system requires the phone to be unlocked to operate. What was an easy blind find of the Home button wherever the phone lay is now a tedious, annoying, distracting, life-threatening (I hyperbolize slightly) ordeal.

    1. Sounds like you monkey around too much with your phone. I never have to do any of that. I do love to tweet a lot though and dogs are great, except when terrorists die like dogs.

  4. “…to slam your painstaking creation.”
    How is 90% ‘swipe to open’ and 10% from a different direction a “painstaking creation”. Someone needs to get over themselves.
    “The Home button is an anachronism.”
    How do you dial an iPhone?

  5. The button was a moving part that could jam or break, and makes it harder to waterproof the product.

    My 2012 MacBook Pro has seven holes in the case for SD cards, Thunderbolt, USB, HDMI, and the miniature version of a 1930s phone jack for a headset. In the last seven years, I have only used three of them. I’m looking forward to my next MacBook Pro, which only has USB-C connectors, which do not require holes in the case. That protects the integrity of the computer while allowing me to buy only the adapters I need.

  6. Apple is going to do whatever Apple wants to do. It repeatedly removes things that work in order to push whatever it thinks will be more profitable or will differentiate itself. Butterfly keyboards were also described by Shiller as better in every way, and they were clearly not in any way. Likewise for many people, FaceID is less convenient than TouchID. Too bad Apple doesn’t like to offer choices.

    Speaking of buttons….

    “The resolution put forward by Speaker Pelosi confirms that House Democrats’ impeachment has been an illegitimate sham from the start as it lacked any proper authorization by a House vote,” White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said. (weak attempt at deflection!)

    Following committee investigations in keeping with House rules, the House responded:

    232 yea to 196 nay

    The buttons have been pressed. Con Don might want to focus his attention on things that matter, even it if interferes with his TV and Tweet time.

            1. Yep. I know everything. I am Citizen X, meeter of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, manager of a store, tuber on a YouTube video, raiser of children and know-it-aller of MDN. I am the greatest – greater than Ali. Grabbier than Trump (although I grab praise, not puusiiez or penizez), and I am just an all around nice guy that people love, especially here at MDN, my third home.

            2. Xanax is the proper spelling idiot.
              So riddle me this batman?
              Should i be ashamed of helping usher in the use of computers? Do you have a purpose in life other than being a spiteful little worm?

            3. You are also too dumb to notice that the Z in Zanax is a play on the Z in Citizen, but because you met Steve Jobs, you were supposed to know that. But you didn’t, because reasons, obvs. Oh well, suX to be Citizen X

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