Now that it's likely that at least one of the new iPhones (most likely the premium iPhone "8") will ditch the traditional home button due to its edge-to-edge, bezel-less screen, tech pundits are wondering how will Apple implement a comparable system that can effectively replace it.
A recent report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman may just have the answer.
According to the report, Apple has tested a new gesture based system that will take over the functions of the home button. This means users will have to use various swipes on the screen itself to perform tasks like returning to the home screen or opening the App Switcher.
Replacing the home button will be a "thin, software bar" located across the bottom of the premium iPhone's edge-to-edge screen. So instead of pressing a button, users can then drag this bar upward to the middle of the screen to "open the phone."
Different variations of screen swipes will likewise activate specific functions. Within an app, swiping up to the middle of the screen activates the App Switcher (mimics a double press of the current home button) and you can flick your finger even further beyond the screen's midpoint to close an app, sucking it back to its icon (mimics a single press of the current home button).
The report also stated that the App Switcher will show a series of standalone cards that can be flicked away instead of the stacked card layout we have on the current iPhones.
As suggested by earlier leaks, the "iPhone 8" is expected to have a 5.8-inch edgeless OLED screen but check this out, it will be squeezed into the same form factor as the 4.7-inch iPhone 7. It will have ultra-thin symmetrical bezels around the screen with a small notch on the top to house the earpiece, camera and various sensors including the ones for its new facial recognition system.
With the remarkable black levels of the new OLED screen, the report stated that Apple can seamlessly blend the notch with the screen when it shows black, presenting a seamless look. It's also reported to have a glass casing with a stainless steel band around it, reminiscent of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s' design, including their antenna cut out lines.
Additionally, instead of having square corners like the current iPhones, the "iPhone 8" will have rounded corners with a longer power button on its right side. The display will not have the aspect ratio of the current iPhones. In fact, it will be taller than the Phone 7 Plus, which allows for more content on a webpage to be displayed, for example.
The home screen will likewise have six rows for app icons per page, allowing up to 24 on each screen. The default app dock on the bottom will still be available albeit it will mimic the new floating iPad dock seen on iOS 11.
This is what the floating dock looks like on an iPhone pic.twitter.com/BbKVIL7yO8
— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) August 30, 2017
Now, with all the other rumored new features coming for the "iPhone 8" - wireless charging, 3D facial recognition, better IP68 waterproofing, it's starting to look like it will truly be a revolutionary, not just an evolutionary, step forward for Apple's flagship line. (Will it be worth the $999 price tag, though?)
We will all soon find out as Apple is reportedly set to unveil the new iPhone on September 12. Stay tuned!