Apple is currently preparing for a launch event reported to take place next month where it will reveal the latest iPhones.
One iPhone model Apple launches next month won’t have a home button – instead, it will have a newer, sharper screen that stretches across nearly the entire front of the phone.
That means one of the biggest interface changes in the iPhone’s 10-year history. Apple will have to remove the home button, which you likely tap scores if not hundreds of times per day, and replace it with new software gestures, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
Apple has tested gestures with a new “thin, software bar” at the bottom of the screen, according to images seen by Bloomberg. So to close an app, instead of tapping the home button, you drag the bar to the middle of the screen, and flick it upwards to close the app. Then the app gets sucked back into its icon.
We’ll have to see how Apple actually implements the feature, but it represents a large risk. If the software replacement for the home button isn’t as fast or reliable as the current home button, it could represent a downgrade in user experience.
But the rest of the features of the redesigned phone, including a faster chip, slimmer bezel, wireless charging, and a 3D facial recognition sensor may be enough to get Apple fans to upgrade. The phone will also have a taller screen that can show more of a web page or additional messages.
Price remains a big question, with some analysts suggesting it could cost as much as $1,000.
iPhone sales, Apple’s most important business, have slowed in the past two years, as the iPhone 7’s design was largely the same as its predecessor. Apple is hoping a newly redesigned iPhone can spur major demand for its flagship device.