iPhone 5S To Reportedly Feature Convex Sapphire Home Button With Fingerprint Sensor
A number of different sources are expectedly speculating on the specification of the iPhone 5S which Apple is expected to announce at the September 10th event. Known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is having his own say on what he and his company expect from Apple’s new smartphone.
The potential inclusion of a fingerprint sensor has been talked about consistently over the last few months. The appearance of biometric based data from one of the beta versions of iOS 7 teardown has also pretty much confirmed that Apple is at least testing some kind of biometric detection in one of their devices. Ming-Chi Kuo, a respected industry analyst from KGI Securities, has been verbal with his predictions in the past to some degree of accuracy but he seems to be the first that is suggesting Apple could be planning on changing the overall design of the home button as well as the surrounding material.
Kuo is suggesting that the new iPhone represents the perfect opportunity for Apple to move from a concave home button design to one that is convex. The sunken design of the button has been consistent with every iPhone launch since 2007, but Kuo is arguing that space limitations would prevent a fingerprint sensor being added to the device, with the raised convex design being the perfect solution. KGI Securities believe the change in design would be necessary as "space under the home button is limited".
Kuo and KGI Securities also believe that changing the home button design will bring with it a number of other issues. Having a raised hardware based button would bring with it the risk of damage and the potential of being more susceptible to scratches and visual imperfections caused by being placed in a pocket or left face down on varying surfaces. It’s for that reason that the analyst believes that Apple will make the immediate move from plastic to using sapphire for the manufacture of the home button. Sapphire is second only to diamond in terms of toughness.
It’s difficult to envisage an iPhone that entirely moves away from the current home button design. There has been talk in the past over whether or not Apple will entirely remove the button in favor of gesture based navigation and although that wasn’t popular at the time, it does seem a lot more favorable than a raised button on the device. With the fingerprint sensor speculation growing in intensity and reputation, it will be interesting to see how Apple work around the technical challenges that it brings.