With less than two weeks to go until the big reveal, Bloomberg has uncovered some important information about the upcoming iPhone 8.
We’ve known for a while that a bigger edge-to-edge screen means the removal of the Home button, but we’ve generally expected Apple to replace it with a “virtual” Home button incorporating the same functionality. According to this latest report, however, the iconic Home button – a staple of the iPhone’s design since its inception in 2007 – could be on its way out for good.
Replacing it would be a “software bar” spanning the full width of the device along its bottom edge. We’ll likely have to wait until the official announcements to see the bar in action, but it’s thought to look and handle a lot like the iPad’s new dock (seen in the image at the top of this article.)
Touch gestures along this software bar would be used to replace some of the core functions previously handled by the Home screen. For example, swiping upwards from the bar would unlock the device, while a similar gesture once unlocked would open the App Switcher to quickly change to another app. It’s unclear how functions like Siri or Apple Pay would be invoked without a Home button, or exactly how many new gestures users could be expected to learn.
Meanwhile, it’s expected the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus will retain the existing design, more or less. Depending on how well the iPhone 8 integrates all these new features, some users may prefer to stick with this tried and tested (and cheaper) alternative.