Now that it is clear, Apple won’t be launching its last piece of the 2016 puzzle, the iPhone 7 until September. We will have to continue to put up with the almost daily leaks and rumors that are doing the rounds. Talking of rumors it seems as if they are shifting away from the camera and design, and more towards a change to what many consider an antiquated home button.
Home Button now a Touch Pad
In a recent article published by mobipicker, it claimed to show an image of the iPhone 7 without a real Home button. Instead, it is a touch sensitive pad, gone is the Home button we’re are used to. No longer would a user need to depress a button to activate services like Siri or to move back to the Home screen of an iPhone.
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In the article, the author claims that the”button” will be flush with the body of the iPhone 7 instead of having its usual indented design. If this is true, it would mean a huge change for the iPhone as ever since the launch of the first iPhone, Apple has given its handsets a physical Home button that a user would press to return to the home screen and activate other functions.
If you look at the image above of the white iPhone 7, you can see that it seems to be missing the silver metal ring. This metal ring normally surrounds a Home button and has been included on all iPhone’s since the iPhone 5s and the inception of Touch ID fingerprint recognition. According to the source of mobipicker’s article, the button is level with the bezel of the iPhone 7 and does not need to be depressed like a traditional clickable button. Instead, it is touch-sensitive and requires taps and tap-hold actions to do what the previous Home button did.
Also, if you take a close look at the iPhone 7 in the picture it appears that the handset has narrower bezels and the front-facing camera and proximity sensor have been moved, that is when compared to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
As with all leaks, no one knows of this latest one is true, but some other recent reports / rumors have pointed towards Apple testing a touch-sensitive Home button for its upcoming iPhone 7.
In March, a published report indicated that Apple had been granted a patent, which referenced a liquid metal Home button that was pressure-sensitive. This button being pressure-sensitive would deform slightly whenever someone applied pressure to it. However, like magic, it would quickly regain its normal shape, when the pressure had been removed.
In a related piece of information, it turns out that Apple has owned a patent for a malleable alloy since 2010 and renews its own exclusive rights to use the technology annually. So it is clear that Apple has been working on a real world application for this technology for six years, and it could be with the iPhone 7 that we finally see this come to fruition.
What Does This Mean For the iPhone 7?
The removal of the large physical button for the iPhone 7 would be a huge change for Apple, and could usher in an even slimmer iPhone like nothing we’ve ever seen before. However, the iPhone 6S is currently the slimmest iPhone at 7.1mm and Apple has a long way to go to catch up with the current smartphone that holds the record of the world’s slimmest. The Moto Z, which is currently a super slim at 5.2mm, personally I don’t see Apple trying to compete at that level, but I do think Apple will try and slim things down a little.
However, if it does decide to launch a slimmed down iPhone 7 it has an awful lot to pack into it if all of the recent rumors are accurate. As according to them if you believe what you read, it will have a Smart Connector, Dual-lens cameras, Stereo speakers, wireless charging, larger battery, no 3.5mm headphone jack and repositioned antenna bands.
So as you can see, that’s an awful lot to pack into a slimmer handset instead, Apple may have to wait until the iPhone 8 with its OLED display in 2017.