iPhone 8 without a home button: How the iPhone experience could change
You may have heard this before, but 2017 will mark the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone. You’ve been hearing about it since even before the launch of this year’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and many have prophesied that for the tenth anniversary, Apple intends to do something truly groundbreaking.
A new design is obvious, given that the current one has been in use for three generations now, with minor tweaks. The iPhone 8 is rumored to have an edge-to-edge display and will also ditch the home button – the most important way to interact with an iPhone. The fact that this year’s iPhone models ditched the physical button with a haptic simulation of a button press makes the rumor somewhat believable. But still, it will be a huge change as the home button performs several functions today. Here is a list of commonly used tasks:
1) Touch to unlock
2) Single tap to exit any app on home screen
3) Double tap to show multitasking
4) Press and hold to bring up Siri
5) Double tap to enable accessibility (on some iPhone models)
Since unlocking your phone is the first thing you should do when using an iPhone, let’s start with that. Many rumors of no home button are often associated with Apple integrating Touch ID directly into the screen. The signs for this to happen are there; Qualcomm’s Sense ID is said to detect fingerprints through a variety of materials, including glass, using ultrasonic sounds. To be fair, we’ve yet to see Sense ID implementations literally working under smartphone screens, and phones like the Xiaomi Mi5s or LeEco Le Max 2 that use the technology still have dedicated areas on the body. to rest your finger.
The other way to unlock a phone without needing a dedicated space would be to use iris scanning – which the unfortunate Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and Microsoft Lumia 950XL used. Iris scanners are different from facial recognition using the front camera; they work faster and even in dark environments, but the downside is having to point the phone at your face to unlock it.
Whichever route Apple takes, it’s clear that the home button won’t fail to unlock an iPhone 8. I’d put my money on the former rather than the latter; simply because iOS 10’s highly functional lock screen would become useless if an iPhone unlocked just by looking at it.
Now let’s talk about the rest of the functions and try to imagine how it might work on the iPhone 8. Apple can take two approaches – one is to put a button on the screen (like many Android phones have for years). years), freeing up dedicated space under the screen. The other is to create a gesture-based interface that won’t require a virtual home button at all.
If you opt for the first possibility, there will be no change in multitasking, access to the home screen or calling Siri, because you will end up doing the same thing with a home button software. Enabling “accessibility” may seem tricky, but doable. For the uninitiated, this feature minimizes the interface to the bottom half of the screen for easy one-handed access. Currently, this works through the circular capacitive ring surrounding the home button, which reads the softer double-tap input (which is different from a double-tap). But knowing that your iPhone has been able to understand the different pressures applied to the screen (3D Touch), it’s not hard to imagine that the on-screen home button will only work if you press it hard. , which makes it consistent with how it works on the iPhone 7 today; you have to press it like pressing a mechanical button for it to work. Therefore, it’s plausible that the accessibility feature will continue to work as it does today, with a gentle double tap of the software’s home button.
There might be another small advantage to using a software home button. Right now, on your iPhone, you can swipe right from the left edge to get back into an app. But let’s say you clicked on a link on Twitter and it opens Safari, you can’t swipe back to Twitter. You will need to double tap the home button and use the app switcher to go back, or use the small back button placed in the top left corner of the screen.
An on-screen home button means that a small part at the bottom of the screen would be reserved. Perhaps a dedicated back button could be placed right next to the on-screen home button, making it easier to return to the previous app.
Finally, let’s address the possibility that Apple doesn’t use an on-screen home button. Which means the only way to perform all of these actions would be via gestures. We already know that there is a gesture to activate multitasking without pressing the home button, by pressing hard on the left corner of an iPhone with 3D Touch. But everything else will require some re-imagining – to get to the home screen, to bring up Siri, or to enable “accessibility”.
Sure, the iPad had the four-finger pinch gesture to access the Home screen for years, but there may be a reason why Apple never enabled it for the iPhone (area smaller to perform the gesture, possibly). In all likelihood, Apple will need to create new unique gestures to perform these actions, similar to BlackBerry’s PlayBook tablet or the Palm Pre series. Last but not least; today, you can triple-press the Home button to activate accessibility options like VoiceOver, which again will require thoughtful implementation. It’s fair to say that going this route would bring about a major change in how the iPhone has been used to date, making it the lesser of the two probabilities.
So there you have it – a summary of the changes that a (hypothetical) iPhone 8 without a home button would bring. How do you imagine this will work?
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