With the launch of the iPhone 7 just weeks away, media attention has been shifting to what comes next for Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). And “what comes next” could be rattling for some. Bloomberg is now reporting that the iPhone 8 in 2017 will lose the iconic Home button.
AAPL is expected to to take the wraps off the iPhone 7 by mid-September. Normally the rumor mill would be in overdrive at this point, filled with speculation about Apple’s new iPhone.
It is active … however, much of the posting is looking ahead to 2017’s iPhone 8.
The iPhone 7 Looks Boring
The iPhone 7 is getting less attention than normal because it has every indication of being boring. For months, spy shots and insider info have seeped out visions of a new iPhone that looks virtually identical to last year’s model. And the one from the year before. Internals will be tweaked, and the iPhone 7 Plus will likely get an improved dual camera system. But there’s little excitement around it.
In fact, the current speculation around the iPhone 7 is that it won’t be called that at all. Instead, Apple might dub it the iPhone 6SE. If that one pans out, it would feel like even AAPL was shrugging.
The iPhone 8 could be radically different.
So with little excitement around the iPhone 7, attention is starting to be filtered even further into the future.
Apple is moving to a three-year product cycle on its iPhones, making 2017 and the iPhone 8 the next big release. There have already been multiple claims that the company is adopting a curved OLED display on at least one iPhone model, taking a page from the design book of rival Samsung (OTCMKTS:SSNLF).
Now a new report from Bloomberg is suggesting the iPhone 8 will adopt an even more radical change.
iPhone 8 Says Goodbye to the Home Button
One element that has remained consistent since the original iPhone was released in 2007 is the Home button. Year after year, the physical button is there on the bottom of the iPhone’s front face. Sure, Apple has improved it. Notably, building in the Touch ID fingerprint sensor was a big leap forward. But it has always been there.
However, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported yesterday that the iconic button is on its way out:
“Apple is already at work on a major redesign of the iPhone for 2017 that focuses more heavily on the display by removing the Home button”
As MacRumors points out, Apple design guru Jony Ive has long wanted to build an iPhone with a front that lacks bezels and looks like a single sheet of glass. The Home button destroys that minimalist aesthetic.
Not to mention that the physical button is a point of failure and a potential access point for water. In the quest for a more durable and waterproof iPhone, eliminating the Home button would definitely help.
However, Home button functionality is critical to iOS, so Apple couldn’t literally scrub it. Instead, Apple would need to use improvements to the 3D touch pressure sensitivity introduced with the iPhone 6S to create a virtual Home button and fingerprint scanner integrated into the display.
2017 is a huge year for Apple. It’s the first launch year in the new three-year iPhone release cycle. More importantly, it also marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. And it comes as iPhone sales — critical to AAPL’s bottom line — continue to lose momentum. Those are three big reasons why AAPL is expected to pull out all the stops.
An iPhone 8 with a slick glass front that eliminates bezels and ditches the old-school Home button would definitely make a splash.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.