A number of new photos have started appearing online claiming to give additional insight into the design choices that Apple has made with the upcoming iPhone 7. A set of new photos purportedly show an actual iPhone 7 model with a white exterior and a flush, touch-sensitive Home/Touch ID button.
If accurate, the new design would essentially mean that the curtains are about to come down on Apple’s iconic mechanical Home button that has been a staple part of the iPhone ever since the original launch in 2007.
The iPhone design has changed considerably in the nine years that Apple has been pushing out the smartphone to the market. We’ve had multiple shapes and sizes. We’ve had plastic, glass and aluminum cases that have either made the device look gimmicky to extremely premium. We’ve even had 3.5, 4, 4.7 and 5.5-inch displays, but throughout all of those iterations, what has always remained constant is the mechanical Home button. Sure, it’s advanced with time to include a Touch ID sensor, but it’s always been there and it’s always been a mechanical operation. That could all be about to change with the iPhone 7.
It is being claimed that the Home/Touch ID button depicted in the visuals below is flushed with the rest of the bezel without the usual silver ring, and doesn’t offer the traditional clickable action iPhone fans have become accustomed to. If true, that would mean users would no longer be required to depress the Home button to go back to the Home screen.
There’d be no more physical double taps to get to multitasking, or press and holds to invoke Siri. A pressure sensitive option would instead accept taps, and although it would likely offer the same functionality, it may take users a fair bit of time to get used to simply tapping the button. After all, some of us having been doing it as second nature for nine years.
The rest of the device depicted in the picture doesn’t really give much away, unfortunately. It looks to contain slightly narrower bezels around the display, as well as having a slightly redesigned camera layout including the proximity sensor at the top of the device.
There has been plenty of historical speculation about Apple testing out a pressure-sensitive Home button – including the granting of a patent by the USPTO for a pressure-sensitive liquid metal option – so it’s by no means beyond the realms of possibility that the iPhone 7 could lose the Home button as we have come to know it.