The iPhone 8 Might Not Have a Home Button at All

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It’s almost here. Photo: MacRumors

As the unveiling of the new iPhones gets closer, the rumors get both more precise and slightly well, more, banal. Mark Gurman at Bloomberg has the latest about what to expect from the iPhone 8, the high-end phone Apple will be selling alongside the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus.

The biggest things longtime iPhone owners may notice: There will be no home button. Home buttons have been disappearing from Android phones for a while, but the basic concept has remained: a spot in the lower middle of the screen that returns you back to the home screen. Sure, the iPhone 7 saw the physical home button replaced by a fingerprint reader with some haptic feedback built in, but, per Gurman, there won’t even be a digital home button on the iPhone 8. Instead, there will be a “software bar” that will use gesture controls. Perhaps I haven’t had quite enough coffee yet, but I can’t picture what exactly this software bar will be. From Bloomberg:

Across the bottom of the screen there’s a thin, software bar in lieu of the home button. A user can drag it up to the middle of the screen to open the phone. When inside an app, a similar gesture starts multitasking. From here, users can continue to flick upwards to close the app and go back to the home screen. An animation in testing sucks the app back into its icon. The multitasking interface has been redesigned to appear like a series of standalone cards that can be swiped through, versus the stack of cards on current iPhones, the images show.

If you can understand what that will look like and how it will function, please email me at jake.swearingen@nymag.com. MS Paint illustrations would be appreciated. Update: Extremely helpful reader Leoberto J. P. Juniorn sent in this, which may partially explain what the software bar would do:

The rest of the news is largely things we’ve already heard about the iPhone. It’ll have an OLED screen that’ll go edge-to-edge, but that OLED screen won’t be curved like Samsung’s recent phones. It’ll likely have wireless inductive charging and facial recognition (and likely no fingerprint scanner). It’ll cost $999.

This isn’t to take anything away from what Apple is attempting to do with the iPhone 8! It represents, by far, the biggest design shift its flagship smartphone has seen since it debuted, ten years ago. It’s just that at this stage in the rumor cycle, the phones are largely being made, leaks have slowed down, and — for the most part — Apple addicts will likely have to wait until September 12, when Apple will reportedly hold its big event showing off its new iPhones, Watches, and Apple TVs.

And regardless if the rumor mill is slowing down a bit, I’d be willing to bet my next paycheck that the iPhone 8 is crazily sold-out for months to come. If you’re serious about seeing what the very top end of Apple’s iPhone looks and feels like, get ready to hammer that preorder button and line up outside your local Apple store this fall.

The iPhone 8 Might Not Have a Home Button at All