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iPhone 8 to ditch home button for gestures

iPhone 8 UI
Image Credit: Maksim Petriv

A new report has some shocking news for people expecting Apple to switch to a virtual home button for the iPhone 8. The company is apparently going one step beyond that by getting rid of the home button altogether, whether digital or physical.

If true, this would easily be one of the biggest changes Apple has introduced to its iPhone lineup. Each member of the series has had a home button to take users back to the home page, unlock the handset, and invoke Siri. To draw a comparison, it’s akin to Microsoft eliminating the Start menu in Windows 8.

Microsoft received a severe backlash when that happened though, forcing it to bring the Start menu back eventually. Apple has apparently been experimenting with new gesture controls to make up for the loss of the home button. Sources told Bloomberg that there’ll be a thin software bar present across the bottom of the screen.

This bar can supposedly be dragged up to the middle of the iPhone 8’s display to unlock it. The same gesture has to be used for multitasking when inside an app. People will have to continue to push their finger upwards to go back to the home screen. This could be confusing to a lot of users, so expect a lot of unintentional accidents.

Also See: iPhone 8 wireless charging to be slower than expected

Apple has reportedly changed up the multitasking interface as well, ditching the stack of cards design for a series of standalone cards which are supposed to be swiped through. There’s also likely to be a new iPhone dock which functions like iOS 11’s iPad dock, putting together frequently used apps in one place.

Interestingly, the article claims that Apple is choosing not to hide the notch up top. It’ll thus be in clear view during app usage with non-black backgrounds. The status bar is probably getting split into 2 ears, with the time on the left and the signal strength, Wi-Fi connectivity, and battery power on the right. It will likely be dynamic, changing according to the task at hand.

Other key revelations include the iPhone 8’s body being similar to the iPhone 7 in terms of size, a taller OLED screen bigger than the iPhone 7 Plus, glass on the front and back which melds into a steel frame, minimal bezels, and rounded corners. There might be a longer power button to make it easier to reach when holding the device in one hand.

Designs and details might differ from what eventually gets released since Apple tests several options. The iPhone 8 may ultimately retain at least a virtual home button, but we’ll only know for sure on September 12 when the handset is rumored to be coming out.