Rumors have pegged the iPhone 5 as having a larger 4-inch display since summer of last year, but in order to put a 4-inch display into the iPhone, Apple’s going to have to radically change the design of the device.
They have two choices. Apple can either make the entire device physically bigger… or they can lose the iconic home button. But if Apple does, how would anyone control their device?
The video above is a concept by designer Kris Groen in which the home button has been totally removed and replaced by two separate home bumpers on the side of the device. Simply squeeze both in unison to access all the functionality of the home button.
There’s reasons to like this design, including the fact that it allows the iPhone to have a bigger display in a roughly similar form factor. It would also allow the iPhone to have stereo sound in theory, making room for another speaker thanks to pulling the guts of the home button mechanism out of the device.
Here’s the problem with Groen’s design, though: Apple would never go with this. For one thing, Apple favors simplicity, and they’d be ditching an iconic and fundamentally simple element of the iPhone for a more complicated mechanism. No way. Apple would rather just lose the home button entirely and replace it with on-screen elements than require people to push two buttons at once.
Second? Think of the havoc this would cause with case and bumper makers. The home button needs to be the second most readily accessible part of the iPhone short of the touchscreen, but if you wanted to use an iPhone case with this design, the home bumpers would always be partially obscured and made harder to reach by a thin layer of surrounding rubber.
So nice try, Groen, but I think we can count this design out. Apple may well ditch the home button next generation, but if they do, they won’t replace it with a more convoluted mechanism: they’ll embrace a totally buttonless design, as Google already has with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. But unlike Google? They won’t fuck it up.
[via Redmond Pie].