Apple is working on a new iPhone design that would get rid of the physical home button, according to a new report from DigiTimes.
The report cites sources in Taiwan’s integrated circuit industry that claim Apple is developing a new kind of chip for its Multi touch displays that “will also come with integrated fingerprint sensors,” so it could eliminate the home button.
Unfortunately, this DigiTimes has a bumpy track record when it comes to reporting on Apple’s future iPhone plans, and while this report does make sense given past rumors of Apple’s plans to get rid of the Home button, it should also be taken with a rather large grain of salt.
The iPhone currently uses a physical home button that acts a menu button that also houses Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor. By integrating the fingerprint technology onto the same chip as the iPhone’s multitouch display, Apple could switch to a virtual home button instead — eliminating the need for bezels and allowing for a display that takes up the entire front of the iPhone.
Apple could also use its new Force Touch Technology to create a virtual home button that is only activated when you push down on a specific area of the screen with enough pressure, which could remove the issue of accidental presses.
Of course, there’s no indication that Apple will introduce this new rumored design in the next iteration of the iPhone, and it seems highly unlikely given that Apple has traditionally focused on software updates after releasing a new hardware design such as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
But an iPhone without a home button ? That certainly sounds like a big enough hardware update to live up to the “iPhone 7” name.