After months of rumors, Apple finally sent out media invitations yesterday to what appears to be its highly anticipated iPad 3 event. As expected, the keynote will take place next Wednesday, March 7th in San Francisco, California.

The invites themselves, which feature a picture of what most believe to be Apple’s new tablet, have sparked some interesting conversations throughout the web as pundits attempt to identify Apple’s embedded clues.

But there’s one particular element of the photo that has everyone perplexed: where is the iPad’s Home button?

The iPad depicted in the invitation appears to be missing a Home button, leading to a lot of speculation that Apple’s next tablet won’t have one. But is the company really ready to ditch the popular feature?

Gizmodo sure seems to think so:

“Not only that, but there seems to be NO home button, which explains the mention of the “And touch.” in their invitation. How can we know? First, the photo they are showing is on portrait mode. You can’t achieve that icon spacing in the landscape mode (which is the only explanation for the lack of home button).

Moreover, the icon falls right onto the same water drop that the current iPad 2 falls while in portrait mode. The same happens with the reflection on the dock.”

So then it’s settled, right? No Home button? Not exactly. There are still a number of explanations for why we don’t see a Home button in the photo. Perhaps it’s hidden behind the user’s hand. Or maybe, despite what some are saying, the iPad is in landscape mode. You would think if it were in portrait mode, we would see page dots (you know, the dots above the dock the show you what Spring board page you’re on).

The point is, we are all likely reading way too much into the image. As MG Siegler notes, the chances of Apple leaking a major design change in one of its biggest product releases of the year via an event invitation are slim to none.

But hey, it’s fun to speculate.

What do you think, will Apple’s next tablet have a physical Home button?

  • Maybe they stupidly photoshopped it out?
    Or perhaps they’ve changed the bubble pic and they’re actually covering the button with their hand.
    Or maybe just maybe they decided to move to to the middle of landscape mode as more people use it in that position?

    • JayKay

      Apple dont do anything stupiditly.

      • U mean like the time they put a 3G icon on their new iPod touch ad, or was that not stupidly

      • Dylan Knox

        That was an accident, not stupidity. Guess what? Shit Happens, Get over it and stop being so ignorant.

    • it wouldnt be for stupid reasons, they likely didnt want the button to be a focal point of the picture.

    • Apple is NOT Samsung.

  • Could be upside-down?

    Ad@m

    • Then you have to see the front camera

      • Ah, you’re right. I’m too used to my iPad 1 :/

        Ad@m

      • What’s the point of signing your name if your username is the same?
        Just wondering.

      • I don’t even have an iPad xD

      • @Tr1pTr0p just a habit 🙂

        Ad@m

      • Dylan Knox

        Maybe they moved it more to one side? lol

  • Well if it has an interactive touch home button like android phones it won’t fail like the physical ones do over time, meaning less iPads being returned to apple, therefore less time and money wasted? I’m all for it, I hate the physical button not working *everytime* I press it.

    • Surely they can’t copy android, can they? Who has the patent on that?

      • they would sue themeselves, like they’re getting used to.

      • Dylan Knox

        No one has a patent on the touch buttons, It’s not owned by Android, Android is simply a name owned by Lucas Arts rented to Google for there Mobile OS. And Google doesn’t own it either, IF anyone did, it would be the hardware manufactures, the guys who make the phones, and if one of them, let’s say HTC, owned the patents to that, only HTC phones would have them. But they don’t. I think it would be a great idea for the iPad, and maybe eventually even the iPod and iPhone.

  • Ignacio Irigoyen

    I only use the home button on my ipad to jailbreak it thx to the multi finger gestures. So I do not see my life changing a lot without the home button.

    • kyle myers

      Wonder how much this would effect jailbreaking. Majority of JB required use of that home button.

      • Eric Morgan

        Jailbreak on iPad 2 requires no home button use at all.

    • Eric Morgan

      What if Siri is added. How do you take screen shots? Or get your apps out of jiggle mode after moving them? Just some thoughts.

      • Dylan Knox

        Gestures.

  • What

  • If upside down so where is the front camera

  • Vander G. Rodrigues da Cunha J

    Take a photo with a iPhone close to the iPad on Portrait Mode with 5 icons in the dock and you’ll see the same watherbdrop AND without showing the Home Button. Sorry for the bad English.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe the iPad now comes with a replica of a human hand that you bash the iPad with to return home.

  • Dan

    wow, and here I thought you had actual information to share…

  • Well on my iPad 2 I barely use the home button. Gestures are amazing. And on the iPad there is a way of doing everything the home button does without the home button. The only thing I see that would be lost is the ability of some of the activator actions.

  • One theory that I have not heard is maybe there is a new size being introduced. I know that we have all seen the back casing an screen parts but couldn’t a new size explain the positioning of the icon and the background if it was a smaller form factor in landscape mode? Maybe apple is going to introduce a regular sized ipad and new ipad mini that has long been rumored.

    But I think that it will be there, an it is just photoshopped out for asthetics.

  • Anonymous

    if its in portrait mode then where is the dock connecter?

  • may be the LCD is so fluffy. That you’ll get so addicted! 😉

  • There’s something under the calendar app it’s very very hard tO see I thought it was a smear on my iPhone but it’s not so yeah

  • maybe I’m thinking something stupid, but… how would you put the iPad in DFU mode without a home button? Using the volume buttons?

    • Absinthe doesn’t require you to put your device into DFU mode.

      • Absinthe won’t work with iPad 3.

        Ad@m

    • Dylan Knox

      Like my Droid X.. Volume button combinations for different modes along with the power button

  • Anonymous

    If there isn’t “home” button it’s a great news I’d thinking that button it’s not useful al all and can be erased. What is it for? just for close apps and return to main menu? that can be done by an icon in every app.

    • Eric Morgan

      Screenshots. Get out of icon jiggle mode. Siri. DFU mode. Hard restart. Brick fail safe (hold home button in for5 seconds THEN plug it into your computer). Just a few of the things.

  • Kok Hean

    WIN!

  • Tom Prestridge

    Maybe the iPad is in landscape mode, you can have six icons in the dock and when it’s in landscape they have the same spacing as when in portrait mode with 4 icons. Maybe?

    • Eric Morgan

      The spacing is actually different. Not even close quite frankly. Sorry.

  • Actually the home button (if it was on the invitation) would be right under the maps icon, which is the third app from the left. In the picture with the home button, it is under the third icon from the left.

  • Look at this, this is a best explanation so far. watch?v=KZLb9qJR7iA

  • Why is the light reflecting from the thumb’s nail if the nail is above the bezel which does not emit light. Derpy derp.

  • Very interesting points! Can’t wait to find out for sure!

  • no home button? i tot no multi touch? xD

  • remember iCloud predecesor?

  • If you noticed, there also isn’t any charging slot or the 30 pin connector slot.. What ever you call the thing..

  • I like the home button, it would be good to get used to gestures, because if it is a touch home button it would happen to be touch by accident a lot of times, right?

  • Kenny McLean

    could it be a square iPad?????

    there’s a thought from left field.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe it’s oriented with the button on top, i.e. “upside down”.

  • Anonymous

    I think we’re making a mountain out of a molehill here and the home button is either not visible due to the close focus and extreme perspective of the photo, or Apple used Photoshop to remove the button because the same focus and perspective cause the home button to be blurry and distracting from the nice dark black border.

    That said, I’ll happily eat crow next Wednesday…

  • Anonymous

    We like to believe that the picture depicts a flat surface but what if its actually a wall? What if the picture was taken at an angle below the hand and its a device on a wall instead of flat on a table? Could it then be the new iTV? Could this be the aforementioned more expensive version of the iPad 3 that is set to launch simultaneously?

    Look how much larger the icon appears in the invitation picture compared to what Gizmodo published showing the same Calendar icon on an iPad 2 with finger… http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2012/02/this-is-the-ipad-3-hiding-in-plain-sight/

  • The bubbles around the top left-hand corner of the calendar icon show that this icon is the 4th icon in the dock and the dock has 5 icons in this picture. This is proven as if the dock had 4 icons in it then these bubbles would be covered up. If the dock had 6 icons in it the bubbles would not appear around the calendar icon as they do. Therefore we know that this picture is showing 5 icons in the dock. Knowing this information means that the icon to the left, in this case the Maps icon, will be the middle icon of this dock arrangement and therefore the page dots would appear above this. These cannot be viewed as they are off screen. This also means that if the home button does still exist then it would be under the Maps icon which is hard to distinguish.

  • Do the app icons seem bigger to anyone else?? and I still think it’s in landscape.

  • Simple.

    Portrait mode upside down.

  • Thomas Gehman

    Maybe the “Maps” icon means, well, better navigation? Just a thought. Oh, and are they gonna broadcast the keynote?

  • May be its in landscape.. Dorks

  • Maybe they got smart and started using the touch buttons like android. I, for one, am sick and tired of my home button on my iPhone being a piece and staring at me blankly as I push it and nothing happens. Thank God for Zephyr.

  • Freedom94

    So can ANYONE TELL ME how to unlock this freaking IPAD! I am not computer wiz and this thing has been locked since Jan. I guess I need someone to walk me through the steps because it just will not do anything. thanks