We won’t get a peak of the iPhone 7 until late next year, but when we do its biggest feature may be that it comes without it’s most iconic pieces of hardware: the home button.
Piper Jaffrey analyst Gene Munster is infamous in the Apple community for his incessant predictions that Apple is making a television set. Now the analyst is dipping into some iPhone 7 speculation, claiming that by ditching the home button, the iPhone 7 will come in a smaller form-factor but pack the same screen size.
“3D Touch may provide Apple with a way to eliminate the home button on the phone and use the additional space to make the screen bigger or make the device smaller,” writes Munster. “One barrier to this could be Touch ID, which is integrated into the home button currently. Apple would need to move the Touch ID reader to potentially the side of the phone to remove the home button.”
Gene Munster doesn’t exactly have a great record when it comes to Apple product predictions, however there have been multiple signs that Apple is considering this. A recent patent filing revealed Apple wants to put Touch ID behind the display, rather than on the side, as Munster suggests.
Other patents have pointed to Apple actually keeping the home button and adding new technology and controls to it. Apple recently patented a way to turn Touch ID into a track pad of sorts that can tell which direction your fingerprint is moving and then display two user interfaces based on which way you swipe.
The odds of Apple going with a home button-less iPhone 7 are about 50%, claims Munster, but I’d put it a bit lower than that. He also predicts that Apple will make big improvements to iPhone battery life because the company doubled MacBook battery capacity over the past few years. Sapphire glass displays could also show up on the new devices, but after how badly things went the last time Apple tried, we wouldn’t put money on that either.