Rumor: Apple removing Home Button on the next iPad and iPhone?

No home button on next iPad, iPhone

Boy Genius is reporting that, according to a source, iPad 2 won't have a physical home button and will rely completely on the multitouch gestures introduced in the iOS 4.3 beta. They were also told this change may be extended to the iPhone 5 later this year.

We have exclusively been told that the reason Apple just added multitouch gestures for the iPad in the latest iOS 4.3 beta is because the iPad will be losing the home button [...] Our source said Apple employees are already testing iPads and iPhones with no home buttons on the Apple campus, and it’s possible we will see this new change materialize with the next-generation iPad and iPhone devices set to launch this year.

In addition, they state that Photo Booth (more evidence of a front-facing iPad camera) and iLife apps will be available on the iPad around the same time the iPad 2 hits the market.

Removing the Home Button is a pretty far-fetched idea. As John Gruber points out, gestures can supplement the Home Button like keyboard shortcuts supplement GUI buttons for expert users, but removing the Home Button would completely confuse a new user.

What do you think, should the Home Button go away?


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Andrew Wray

Andrew Wray is a Salt Lake City, Utah based writer who focuses on news, how-tos, and jailbreak. Andrew also enjoys running, spending time with his daughter, and jamming out on his guitar. He works in a management position for Unisys Technical Services, a subsidiary of Unisys Corporation.

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Reader comments

Rumor: Apple removing Home Button on the next iPad and iPhone?


If they do that on the Iphone 5 to make the screen bigger then it would totally be worth it.

WebOS devices have no physical button and use a gesture area...not confusing to the user at all. Doesn't seem like a bad idea to me, although the button is a bit of a staple of the iDevices as they stand right now...

While the removal of the home button was my first reaction to the new gestures, I don't think Apple could ever get away with that. In all seriousness, what do you users who have less than four/five fingers do?

Missing fingers? An i"Touch" device might not be for you. The same way people with no legs shouldn't operate a typical motor vehicle with gas/brake pedals. What's up common sense!

get rid of it and jack webOS's gesture area. i long for the day my iphone and my girlfriend's palm pre+ get hitched and make a baby.

Why a new user would be confused if he never had experience with home button? I clearly see future i-devices without this big button. It obviously could take some time for old users to get used to.

A jail-broken iPhone can already have access to a virtual home button via mQuickDo. My son home button broke on his iPhone and he jailbroke, added mQuickDo and viola! It worked great and saved him the cost of a repair or a new iPhone.

I put this with the "retina" screen rumor. Not going to happen.
If this rumor came out prior to the 4.3 beta having gestures, then it might have legs.

I couldnt imagine swiping 4 fingers on my 3.5 inch iphone screen to get back home, and bring up the multitasking dock. it seems like to much to do on a tiny device. I can maybe see a gesture area like on the palm devices but at the same time i think i would constantly be touching the gesture area when i'm playing a game in landscape mode because that is the area where my fingers are holding the phone. i think most people are accoustomed to the home button and wouldnt want that to be changed.

I'd say it is quite probable on the iPad where users often have to "look for" the home button, depending on how they're holding it at the moment. But the iPhone needs to stay controllable single-handedly, so there would have to be found another replacement aside from 4-finger gestures.

Yes but in order for their devices to not be fragmented as android fans would say.. Everything to me seems it would have to be the same.

4/5 finger gestures in iPad on iOS 4.3 are clunky at best. Without a gesture area on all four sides, I would be skeptical about buying an iPad with no home button.
My bet: They make the home button into a capacitive button instead of a physical one.

So how would you do a hard reset? Force quit? If you've ever had an accident and lost some digits, then you can't use the new gestures on the iPad with no home button.

Perfectly said!
I would like to see more buttons, not less! How about dedicated send/end buttons. How about a slide out keyboard!

They buy another phone. It's not meant for everybody. If the iPhone were meant for every person, it'd be free.

How incredibly insightful of you. Normally, I would say that your statement was correct. However, Apple has made incredible strides in accessibility of the iPhone for people with disabilities. Have you ever visited the Accessibility menu? I suppose not. Unless Apple provides another way of accessing the functions of the finger swipes, I don't think the home button will go away as soon as people think.

even if it had to be a non physical button that was more blended w/ the device rather than the old clunky home button we have now would be better.

Anything that requires more than one finger to get back to the home screen or some gesture other than a swipe in one direction will be too complicated and I won't like it compared to the button.

apple will decide what u will or won't like. don't kid urself into thinking that u actually make ur own decisions. i've given up that hope a long time ago. haha just playin with ya.

Haha, it's true. I was OK with Apple telling me I didn't really need MMS for a few years. But more complex gestures instead of a button will be too much for me. :) If it's a gesture area like the Pre or a touch sensitive button I'll probably live.

One handed iPhone use requires a home button. I don't know about other people but if i'm using the iPhone with one hand and suppose a drink in the other hand, only my thumb is available. Multi-finger gestures are nice but are not practical in all situations (e.g. trying to pinch zoom on google maps while driving)

Dont like the idea. I won't be able to use 1 hand then to go back to the home screen

How big are 4 or 5 of your fingers together? How big is your iPhone screen? Not a lot of room for this 4 finger home gesture.
The iPhone was meant to be operated single handed. The iPad was not. This feature will be adopted but probably not the cause of the iPhone home button extinction.
Whassup casual thought!

I don't know if this will happen or not but why is it such a far fetched idea? I remember people complaining when they saw the OG iPhone had no keyboard. Things like it will never take off, people need a physical keyboard.
I think it's a natural progression. People complain about changes but then get used to them. I would not be surprised it the physical button goes. Introducing the new gestures in 4.3 is Apples way of training everyone prior to the removal of the button. I bet people will be using the gestures more than the button in no time at all.
Maybe they don't get rid of it but use it for other functions, such as a physical camera button. 

I vote no, leave the button. Unfamiliar users press it and figure out the os quick. Give us ability to do either or.
About webos gesture area, i love it on my pre, but do find it to be very confusing to people who havnt used it tons.

The new iOS devices are going to be controlled by mind. Apple will implant a small chip in one's head and that would be it.
I am just kidding, or am I?

Nope ur not kidding! cause this will allow apple to make u control u further!! did u not read the meno from the first iPhone?

I see it working for the iPad but I would honestly detest having that on an iPhone. Not that I can't fit 4-5 fingers on my phone and I do have all my fingers but how annoying would that be. I want to be able to operate my phone one handed. I don't want to have to stop everything I'm doing or gasp drop my coffee cup to exit a window, or switch to another. I don't see this happening for the iPhone.

I vote no, I like the home button. Plus, I don't think I have very big hands at all and I can barely get four/five fingers on the screen at the same time to "squeeze" or "pinch" back to the home screen. I can see where it would be a cool feature - but I'm sure a lot of people would have a problem putting an entire hand's worth of fingers on their device to pinch every time they wanted to close an app.

APPLE ---- DON'T DO IT!!!!
This is taking 'minimalist' too far. So when the OS screws up (and it does sometimes) and you have to reset.... what do you do?
At least one physical button should stay. gestures are a nice compliment, but no buttons at all? NO WAY!!!!

I think the consensus here is that it would work nicely for the iPad but not the iPhone and I agree. Unless the iPad it sitting on a table, it's not really operable with one finger. Usually, I'm holding it in one hand or a lap and using a full hand to use it. These gestures are perfect for the iPad because it has no "true orientation" (source: Jony Ive conceptual video on the iPad) and therefore should lose the home button that artificially orients the device in the minds of the users. Plus, they could symmetrically eliminate most of the bezel if the button wasn't there. The iPhone is obviously too small for five-finger gestures but I'm all for them on the iPad. Go away home button! Go away bezel!

This would be taking a step back in terms of usability. Why use both hands and four fingers to perform such a basic function when you can use a single thumb?

Just give it up as you are attempting to be a voice of reason without a real voice. But obviously you are only considering yourself and your needs and realizing that
So, let's take your "if a device relies heavily on touch…then it’s probably not the device for someone with the inability to regularly touch." - Well mister common sense, both an iPhone/ipod Touch and iPad can now be used with people to quote Apple "impaired physical and motor skills". So, mister logic, if you take away part of the capabilities that people with these "issues" have so they can use the iPhone, then you need to provide a substitute way of accomplishing the same tasks.
"Impaired physical and motor skills" nor my statement of people missing digits does not mean that people aren't in any way able to use a touch device. You do know that people that are visually impared are using the iPhone as well? Heck, according to you "hey if you can't see, you shouldn't be using a touch device." You do realize that "missing digits" does not necessarily mean you have no hands?
Boy I am sure glad you don't work for Apple. Let's get one thing clear, I like the implementation of gestures and hope that Apple continues to refine the process thru the various Beta's. However, Apple will not be as irresponsible to totally take away functionality from those who want to use an iPhone that are in any way less fortunate than others in terms of physical ability.
Open your mind. Apple has.

Did you go to school?
Original Comment: What about people that don’t have all their digits?
Explanation: Don't have all (10) digits = having less than 10 fingers = < 10 or less than 5 fingers on a given hand.

Dood, don't be a smartass. There are plenty of people with not all but some of their digits that can use the current iphone for work, entertainment and rehabilitation. You're being both ignorant and condescending; a ba combination.

Can't see it especially on iPhone. As other suggest, maybe if it's just a change from physical button.
What would happen to Voice Control or screen shot functions?

Can see why iPad can use gesture only. I sometimes hate trying to locate the button, especially when its at the top. However, removal of button will eliminate potential to Hold future lighter iPad with one Hand. Unless of course future iPad can hover in the air.. For iphone? Same reason: 2 handed operation all d time? Naahh... Unlesss.. Maybe the Back side will recognize Gestures as well??? Mmm maybe not... :D

I don't know about that one. ... I'm a bit iffy about not having a home button. Isn't it a fail-safe type thing? Like what do I do if my screen freezes? It's happened to me before and by pushing the home button, it kills the app and the processe and I'm back to norman.

OK Dood, now you've gone too far. It's one thing to offend all cilvilized readers of this blog with your bigoted rants and insensitivity towards the disabled. You also try our patience with your impudent bullying tactics of those who are clearly your superior in intellect and moral character. But insulting the Mets is crossing the line. Now it is time for all decent people to hunt you down at your mommy's house & give you the spanking you deserve.

I'm all for it. Keep the phone the same size, make the screen bigger, and keep the sleep/wake button for resets. I live the idea of all gestures, especially since my iPhone4 home button is on the fritz.

I like the home button, it is a nice easy feature to exit any running app. I think trying to replace that with crazy gestures is going to cause confusion amongst anything. If they do remove the home button in favor of a larger display (always welcome) then I would like to see the addition of an "exit" button on the side of the phone.

Would be a big leap forward...+make te screen bigger and the iphone as thin as the ipod touch....

I'm willing to bet BGR's source said something to the effect of "yeah, the iPhone is not going to have a physical button anymore, and there's gonna be new multifinger gestures". Then, BGR just ran with it and made a whole bunch of assumptions.
I bet what the source meant was the iPhone will not have a physical (see: click click) button, but a capacitive or touch sensitive button. Oh, and some sweet new gestures too...

idk about everyone else... but the home button is the only way i can figure out which way my iphone 4 is facing without looking. if they take away the home button, i'll be trrying to use my iphone every which way before turning it on just to check a damn email.

@dood you are just discriminating. One of my good friends only has one hand and he uses his iPhone 4 with a bit of difficulty but can usually keep up with other iPhone owners. If apple makes these gestures the only way to get back to spring board on the next iPhone they are pretty much abandoning him with the iPhone 4 which will suffer from iPhone 3G syndrome in a couple years and be obsolete. I realize that he probably shouldn't get an iPhone 5 if apple really does this but that does not in any way make it right. He loves his iPhone ad I doubt apple would want to lose him and other loyal customers like him due to something stupid like the home button. Also, I am lucky enough to have two fully functional hands and I still don't know if I would purchase an iPhone 5 if I couldn't use it with one hand. One handed use is far too important to a person like me that needs to multitask in life sometimes.

Come on guys, stop that fight, I would love to have an IPAD without the home button it would be so hot to use gestures instead of a physical button but please, I think we ALL KNOW that the iphone 5 Will have a home button that's simply because 4/5 finger gestures on the iphone would totally suck! And iOS 4.3 gestures are IPAD ONLY. If one day iphone looses its home button it will be turned into a capacitive button at most.

I would LOVE an iPad without a home button.
On the iPhone, however, I don't think it's big enough to do 4 or 4 finger gestures. It'd be too cramped.

Sorry, *I shouldn't own an iphone? Had a hard time typing on this computer keyboard I'm required to use with only 3 fingers on one hand.

The idea was NOT stolen from playbook as since 2007 Steve wanted to make an iPhone without a physical he button but never got it right before ipad and iOS 4.3

If they can get rid of the click-wheel, why not this?
Although mandatory four and five finger gestures would really suck for people who've lost a finger or two. I can't think a company with so much emphasis on accessibility features would ditch single point interaction entirely. They'll probably just make the home button capacitive too.

I'm just lazy. Once I flip my phone sidways to read blogs like this, I only use my thumbs from then on. I don't want to have to move so much that I have to let go and swipe with anything but my thumb.

Not gonna happen, just like verizon not getting an iPhone. Opps. Serious, unless the home button had problems, and there were some, I think apple is just looking at different options. The final product may, or may not have it. I would say it will, because if the screen locks you need the physical button to reset it along with the power button.

Its no secret that Steve Jobs didn't want any physical buttons on the original iPhone. So that new iDevices not having a home button is not far fetched. I truly believe ANYONE getting a Verizon CDMA iPhone will be disappointed in there data speeds. If you think dropped calls is a problem (and I believe that is a crock of you know what) wait from going from 5 mbps(AT&T) to 800 kbps(Verizon) that will be a huge shock and I sit and laugh. Can you hear me now oh wait you can't your on the web

Man no offense but cnet did a speed test and the verizon iphone won. At&t is good in certain areas while it straight up sucks, basically anywhere it doesn't have 3G. May have just been the area or whatever but it won.
P.S. same circumstances with verizon.

Wow i just didnt realise how crap american cellular networks are.
I never experience dropped calls, i get speeds past 10mbit sometimes on 3G (and in the middle of the country, this isn't just an isolated network that only functions in the city, i go for long drives and have the ipad working on 3g the entire way, full speed.
We ditched CMDA years ago too.
I feel sorry for you guys suffering over there.

It makes more sense on an iPad because the device requires more focused interaction. You sit down, you put your feet up, and you engage with the device.
The iPhone is completely different. Much of its usage is entirely utilitarian. You pull it out and double-tap the home button so you can skip tracks for the iPod. You double tap the home button to switch between backgrounding apps.
You do all of this, presumably, while you're navigating around in the world. It's just not the same. The iPhone is foremost a one-handed device. I call BS that Apple ever drops the home button from the iPhone.

iPad: possible
iPhone: not possible
One of the ideas Apple placed upon the iPad was that "you don't have to change yourself to use it." Plus, the iPhone doesn't flip upside down like the iPad does; furthermore, the iPhone isn't quite big enough for a four-finger touch gesture.

what a load of rubbish, why would Apple remove the home button.
According to my "inside source" we'll hear about these new apple products on 1st Feb! But from what they have said to me, we have already seen what new features iPad 2 will have!
Anyway, i am bored by these rumors, why not just wait till they are official!! It's not long now, we'll find out what Apple has in store for us all to waste our money on with in the next month!

One of my biggest gripe with iphone.Hey apple never force people to use both their hand to operate a phone. ever imagine how easy it is to use a keypad phone. Make it easier not harder. Use two hands to zoom out in maps? why not have a zoom out button like copilot does?

There is a way to solve you problem "DON'T BUY AN iPhone" stop complaining their are many other choies out there

I have dealt with a faulty home buttons forever now and heard from a lot of people that have. Though I found most causes of that aren't that hard or expensive to fix, unless you aren't under warranty and it's your crookedly installed screen knocking the thing off centre rendering it near useless.
Right darned now when it's acting up I wish I didn't even have a home button!
However, if they go through with this idea I hope it is SIMPLE, like, say, double tapping the time at the top of your phone, or something...(maybe not the best idea, it's pretty small...)
Point is, i don't want to have to teach my fingers mixed martial arts just to use my phone.

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