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The next iPhone could be missing something it's had since the beginning

The next iPhone could be missing something it's had since the beginning
PHOTO COURTESY OF APPLE

Even though the iPhone 6s just arrived, the tech world is already looking forward to Apple's next offering, the iPhone 7. As usual, there are plenty of rumors about what it might look like or what kind of technology might appear.

However, Gene Munster over at investment and research bank Piper Jaffray claims there's a 50% chance that the iPhone 7 Apple could remove something the iPhone has had since the beginning. In fact, it's one thing that every iPhone user uses dozens or hundreds of times a day.

That critical piece is the home button. For a while, now many Android phones have ditched physical buttons in exchange for "soft" buttons on the screen. That lets them have larger screens while making the overall phone smaller, and Apple's home button does take up a lot of room.

Now that it has a 3D Touch screen that responds to the pressure of presses, it might make sense to ditch a physical button. The phone could ignore light taps and stay off, but wake up with a firm press.

The big thing that could stop Apple from doing that, as other tech analysts have pointed out, is that the home button also holds the Touch ID sensor. That's what scans the user's fingerprints for unlocking the phone and paying with Apple Pay.

Apple could move the tech sensor elsewhere, such as the side or back, but it's going to be a huge shift for people who have been using iPhones for years. Apple might not want to risk it.

Is an iPhone in your future? See how it stacks up to your other options in our smartphone comparison chart.

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