Since it was revealed that the iPhone 8 would have an entirely new design which would feature no home button; everyone has been wondering how Apple would work in new navigation features to help people use their device. The new OLED display will stretch from edge to edge, leaving little room for physical buttons. So, clearly, the solution will have to be on-screen. We have seen many renders of how this might look from designers. Some of them have been… Not so great. Some have been okay. Of all of them, I think I like this the most. John Calkins provided his own idea of how Apple should handle navigation in the iPhone 8. I introduce you to: the HomeBar.
In this design, we see the different ways the HomeBar could adapt to what the user is doing and offer relevant controls right there on the screen. The design actually seems quite intuitive. You can see different configurations for when interacting with Siri, listening to music, or answering a phone call.
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The notifications from the bottom is a very smart addition. After all, there’s really no “top” of the display on this device. The wrap around OLED display extends around the small cutout for the earpiece and front-facing sensors. Where is the top of the device for swiping down to open notifications? Do I have to swipe from where the camera sensor is? That could make for some smudge-filled selfies. Moving the notifications to the bottom of the display as part of the iPhone 8 HomeBar concept would be a smart design choice and make the iPhone 8 feel very intuitive.
The smart thing about this design is that is still feels familiar to those who have become very accustom to the iPhone home button. There’s no revolutionary change here. Sure, there are some additional functionalities and options but the core look and feel of the home button is still there in the iPhone 8 HomeBar concept.
Of course, this is simply a concept design and not the actual thing. We likely won’t know how the iPhone 8 actually works until we see it on stage at an Apple event. I’m personally hoping that a more modern smartphone design leads to a more modern navigation solution. it would be a shame to see a virtual home button that feels like it was slapped into the design just to satisfy the need for navigation buttons.
In addition to the new design, there will plenty of other new features for us to see in the iPhone 8. Apple even went ahead and accidentally confirmed some of these features for us with their HomePod leak.
For example, we know that the iPhone 8 will contain a feature called PearlID which is the 3D face scanning feature that has been talked about so much for the past few months. Using a front-facing infrared camera, the iPhone 8 will be able to scan a users face for security purposes. Then, just like with TouchID, users will be able to unlock their device, authorize Apple Pay purchases, and access secure apps. This might be a welcome feature for many people since we don’t actually know what is going on with TouchID. I’m assuming they made TouchID a part of the power/lock button but it’s also possible that the fingerprint sensor is embedded under the display, placed on the back of the device, or maybe even removed completely. There have been rumors supporting every option and it’s hard to know which is true.
The camera on the iPhone 8 should be one of the most interesting features. The dual camera sensors will be aligned vertically. This is specifically designed with augmented reality in mind. AR works best in a landscape environment so that means the two sensors will be aligned in a landscape format when the device is turned on its side. Tim Cook has been discussing AR a lot lately which makes me feel like the feature could be a major focus of the iPhone 8 launch event. We know that there is an ARKit in iOS 11 so it’s not like this is completely out of left field. Apple wants to be a major player in AR and the iPhone 8 is their opportunity to make a big splash.
What do you think of the iPhone 8 HomeBar concept? Is it a fitting replacement for the iPhone home button? Like I said, this is just a concept design and by no means an official design or even based on an official design. That won’t be known until an Apple engineer leaves their smartphone at a bar or until we see Tim Cook show off the iPhone 8 on stage. Still, it’s nice to imagine how the iPhone 8 might make use of its increased screen real estate. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Image source: Behance