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Apple to Remove Home Button from Next iPhone?

Most touchscreen phones have at least a couple of tactile buttons; touchscreens are sexy and easy to use, but you really can’t beat the old physical buttons when it comes to stuff like power, and volume up and down at the very least. The iPhone, seen by many as the original modern touchscreen phone, actually has quite a few real buttons to compliment its large screen. These are the volume rocker, the mute switch, the power button and the home key. However, it looks like iPhone 5 may see the elimination of at least one of these.

Apple just released iOS 4.3 and included in the release was support for multitouch gestures for the iPad. However, it seems something much more interesting may be afoot. BGR cites Apple sources who say the addition of multitouch gestures for the iPad is a part of a larger plan to ditch the home button on the iPad and, eventually, the iPhone. Instead of tapping the home button, users would rely on multitouch gestures to return them to the homescreen.

Though it’s not certain, BGR’s sources say it’s possible we may see these changes come into play in the next generation models set for launch this year. It might sound totally crazy, it’s important to remember that Apple’s ridiculously small touchscreen MP3 player, the iPod Nano, has no physical button and employs multitouch gestures as a navigational tool.

Obviously the next question is what Apple will do with the extra space. One option is that they'll use it to increase touchscreen real estate. Steve Jobs has, in the past, expressed distaste for larger-screen devices saying they’re almost too big to fit in one's pocket. However, with an increasing number of phones out there packing 4-inch+ displays, ditching the home button and increasing the display size without making the device itself any bigger would be a nice little workaround to move the iPhone in the same direction as other big players in the industry.

  • ben850
    This would be nice.. buttons create a weak point in the device.

    We've all dropped our cell phones at one point or another. I was actually clumsy enough to drop my iphone into a river. Luckily it went straight to the bottom instead of downstream. Some how the phone still worked, and i think that is due to it's overall sealed design. Less buttons would make for an even more tight/airproof casing.

    Not to mention that moving parts eventually fail when used enough times..
  • Ragnar-Kon
    So I was sitting here reading the article, finding it interesting and whatnot... and then realized that society has gone so far downhill lately that a button on a phone warrants an entire article.
  • Why not. But aside from the button issues----You know what I would really like to see Daddy Steve Jobs do? I would like to suggest that he place an area where you can attach a lanyard/cellphone strap just in case the customer would like to place a lanyard (like in the old Nokia phones from the past). I cannot tell you how VALUABLE that is to me, who has slipped/dropped my phone but *accidentally* catch it all thanks to a cellphone strap or lanyard. Just my $0.02. Please consider it apple!
  • razor512
    They can easily make a button waterproof.

    the iphone has a really bad lack of buttons. This forces users to have to take the item out of their pocket to use it. this is a major security risk.

    It is very common here in NY to see someone holding their iphone out in the open while listening to music on the bus. Then occasionally, someone will run past, knock the person over in their seat and grab the iphone and run away.

    The 3 main devices where this happens is iphones, ipods and the sidekicks, the main thing they share is in order to use they have to be held out in the open, just waiting to be stolen.
  • alyoshka
    You mean there are still idiots out there who steal this kinda junk?
    Still don't care about the i(diot)Phone. Get a DROID!
  • Vampyrbyte
    Apple will decide in their infinite wisdom that the phone would be better without a screen. Afterall users don't actually need any feedback from their device at all.
  • Predictable haters are predictable.

    The idea that there are people who still suppose one phone to be 'better' than another phone in any way really entertains me. Let's be clear about this; closed ecosystem != "phone for idiots". If this was the case then I'd be a pretty well qualified idiot, along with a lot of even more intelligent people who use iPhones.

    Any iPhone user would argue that Android users are the idiots for choosing an operating system that has releases and updates more frequently than the sun sets. Ultimately, does it matter?
    Choose a phone that suits you, grow up, and stfu trolling iPhone articles (however frequent they are). Without competition, no one device would be anywhere near as good.
  • maigo
    It has buttons?
  • idisarmu
    JOSHSKORNStill don't care about the i(diot)Phone. Get a DROID!
    If you're bashing the iPhone, then you just might be an idiot. It's one of the most powerful phones out currently, only bested by the hummingbird-powered phones (and the only 2 phones I can think of are the galaxy S and Wave). The iPhone is actually a damn good PMP and MID with decent phone capabilities. However, the thing I hate about iPhones is that you need iTunes to use them. iTunes is slow as molasses and struggles with music libraries exceeding 100gb. Winamp, on the other hand, still searches like a champ through a 500+ gig library.