Rumor: Apple Will Remove the Home Button in the Next Version of the iPhone

By , Jan 13, 2011

A new, unexpected report from Boy Genius is claiming that the next version of the iPhone and iPad will have no home button. That’s right, a device with hardly any physical buttons will lose its only major one. This rumor doesn’t seem unlike Apple, we are talking about a company who took all of the buttons off the iPod Nano at one point.

It seems that the reason multitouch gestures were added to the iPad in iOS 4.3 is because Apple plans to implement such gestures for all iDevices. These multi-finger gestures would most likely replace the current functionality of the home button. Boy Genius Report reveals the following…

“We just got some pretty wild information from one of our Apple sources and while it’s hard to believe at first, it does make sense. We have exclusively been told that the reason Apple just added multitouch gestures for the iPad in the latest iOS 4.3 beta is because the iPad will be losing the home button. Yes, we are told that Apple, at some point in time, will remove the home button from the iPad’s design. Instead of button taps, you will use new multitouch gestures to navigate to the home screen and also to launch the app switcher.”

These home-buttonless iDevices are rumored to already be in field testing at the Apple campus in Cupertino. That means they can’t be far off from their shipping date. BGR says,

“That’s not all, however. In addition to the home button disappearing from the iPad, we’re told that this change will make its way over to the iPhone as well. Our source said Apple employees are already testing iPads and iPhones with no home buttons on the Apple campus, and it’s possible we will see this new change materialize with the next-generation iPad and iPhone devices set to launch this year.”

An iPhone without the home button would definitely be an interesting device. That design change could be Apple’s big shocker for their new iPhone announcement later this year.

This rumor is even more interesting because Steve Jobs originally said he didn’t want any physical buttons on the iPhone. It looks like he could be getting his wish with the next version of the iPhone and iPad.

John Gruber has some interesting objections as to why he thinks Apple will keep the home button,

“The physical Home button is impossible to miss. That it is the one and only button on the faces of these devices is a big part of why normal people are able to pick them, starting playing with them, and figure out how to get around with no help. How in the world would a normal person figure out or guess that they need to do a “five-finger pinch” to get back to the home screen?

I’m not saying these are bad gestures. But they’re like keyboard shortcuts on the Mac. For any command you expect normal people to actually find and use, there needs to be a visual way to find it. You can add a keyboard shortcut for expert users to memorize, but you can’t have only a keyboard shortcut. Same with these gestures.”

We’ll be sure to keep you posted on this news. What do you think? Does an iPhone without the home button sound appealing to you? Would using multi-finger gestures to navigate basic functions like the app switcher and home screen bother you?

[via Boy Genius Report]

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  • Shrike1978

    I’m not a fan of gestures for gesture sake. You can oversimplify to a point that simplification becomes complication. I’m not a fan of, and never use, the mouse gesture systems on PC’s, or swipe gestures in Activator for the same reason. They’re too difficult to activate when I want, too easy to activate when I don’t. The home button performs an important and vital function. If they do this, it could be what finally drives me away from the iPhone and over to Android, and by extension, away from AT&T and over to Verizon or Sprint, due to the lack of decent Android options on AT&T.

    • Sascha

      Fully agree!

      How would I know what gesture does what? An iPhone without any physical buttons would require intensively practicing these gestures to get along with it and therefore damage the ease of use and intuitiveness.

  • Saxon

    That’s going to severely impact the sales of iPads to the elderly then. The iPad is a great device for grandparents since it’s so easy to email and show pictures on. If they start taking away buttons and adding mandatory multi-finger gestures people with arthritis are going to be stuck. Shoot, I don’t even feel like I’m coordinated for gestures most of the time and I’m 28.

    Additionally, what’s going to happen to apps that were making use of gestures on their own? If Apple overrides multi-finger gestures, how are people going to play two-player games like Fruit Ninja on an iPad without accidentally backing out to the home screen?

    • http://www.liputan6.com Spiderio

      You are absolutely right
      I’m agree with u

  • Thor

    I really like the idea of having a larger screen without a much larger phone. Because I am a clutz and have small children I need a Ballistic case to protect my delicate i4. I do not know how they can pull it off, but if it can be done, Apple will figure it out. Maybe a right side mounted he button? Not great for the lefties though. The phone must remain operable with one hand, otherwise it just is not a phone.

  • Juan

    “Does an iPhone without the home button sound appealing to you?” – No, does not sound appealing.

    “Would using multi-finger gestures to navigate basic functions like the app switcher and home screen bother you?” – Yes, it would. And it would bother my mother too. She’s 70. The single home button is perfect for her.

  • Erydan

    More not less buttons please.

    I hate these companies that try and tell you what you want instead of just giving you what you want.

  • Paul F

    What about people who are unfortunate enough to be missing a finger or two….

  • Bobby Mo

    How would you put it in DFU mode or force a reboot when the phone freezes?

  • Zenin

    they are stopping us from entering DFU!!! this is one way to stop jailbraking, and gestures can only be used once in the os

    • Burge

      It will not stop jailbreaking ,.Jay freeman has spent so much time on making Cydia work ..and that goes for the dev team aswel

  • http://miapples.blogspot.com pleask55

    I hope this is an early April Fool’s joke!
    Otherwise Jobs is jobbing himself … Again!
    Why change for the sakes of changing/fix the existing problems 1st please.
    Oh … The almighty dollar calls!

  • DomPerignon

    MultiTouch gestures are a pain in the $#&, they don’t work 100% of the time but a Home button does.

  • Kj

    Five finger gesture? Hm. I only have 4 fingers on ny right hand :-(

    • Joe

      Aww sorry man. They will probably make it function for less fingers. Also you can always use the home button.

  • DefJamz

    no home button. fine by me. but using gestures to activate.. simply no. why not replace the home button with a touch feature. i’m sure some of you had your home button damaged or rendered almost useless over time (like mine does) due to wear and tear of the home button circuitry. for resetting or getting in dfu mode, why not implement a tiny reset button using the sim holder pin?

  • Manuel

    This won’t backfire, since Apple fans will buy any thing with an Apple Logo on it. I think it’s stupid and if this is what the new iPhone will be, I know getting the iPhone 4 will make me more happy when I see those morons going crazy with the Gestures. I love them on Mac book, but not on a phone.

  • SoCoMagNuM

    simply…i want a home button. its convenient and no one wants to just sit a remember finger gestures. also what about people like above commenter that mentioned he only has 4 fingers on one hand? you just cut part of your market out. they have to have some sort of button. its one button for crying out loud. whos complaining?

    • Thor

      Everyone has at most four fingers on one hand. The other thingy is a thumb.

  • msxy

    as i asked you before for dfu mode and as i said to we can always go to dfu mode with programmes

  • ytgh

    No home button means you cant do emergency measures like recovery mode when your iPhone stops working.

  • ytgh

    At least you cant overwork your iPhone by pressing the home button a million times. I hate it when someone takes my iPhone and presses the home button so much, it just freezes.

  • Tad

    I think what apple might be going at is instead of a physical button they might implement a “touch sensitive” button, maybe a tiny square will light up and you still have to push it to bring back the home screen.

  • Érico

    no home is really great, but with the home button we can use the iphone with one hand… what about the gestures?

  • H3X0

    i think they should keep the home button, but make it to where you can unscrew the top of the button with an included suction cup tool, and replace it with a glass plug that sits flush and blends in with the rest of the front, and keeps the home button from being pressed. that way, if you want a home button, you can have it. if you don’t, you can hide it. if you change your mind, you can change it easily, and without buying a new iDevice, like you would have to if they made two seperate versions.

  • chris

    for christsake people chill! i think it’s a great idea. first off, it would allow a larger screen, meaning for instance a permanent menu bar below the standard 16/9 display area. second, they can still add one tiny button on both sides of iphone’s edges (to be used for left-handed too) for those who prefer to use a physical button. i mean people here have zero imagination and keep whining. have you seen the future of laptop with double LCD screens and no keyboard? well, here’s the same logic, either a wider than 16/9 screen or – why not – an additional small screen that would display only the menu and icons.
    and by the way, there’s already an app that takes care of people with a defective home button with a cydia app and it’s all software. i had to use it on my previous 2G iphone for that reason, until i replaced the home button…