Ever since the very first iPhone came out in 2007, the home button has been an integral part of the phone’s design. In keeping with the iPod design philosophy of “less is more”, the iPhone’s home button ushered in a whole new era of touch-screen smartphones. Instead of number buttons taking up valuable space on the body of the phone, the home button replaced them. As the iPhone home button evolved, to eventually include a fingerprint sensor, iphone repair shops near me became experts at fixing the home button.

Apple Firmware Reveals iPhone 8 Secrets

However, all that looks set to change with the iPhone 8. While the new model hasn’t officially been announced yet, Apple have given the game away by accidentally releasing the firmware for its upcoming wireless speaker. This code also includes a few hints about the iPhone 8, which will likely be released around the same time as the speaker, around the start of December.

One of the most surprising points that savvy programmers found in the firmware code was a single line that says a lot: “deviceHasHomeButton, 0”. In layman’s terms, that means there isn’t one. Since the leak came directly from Apple, it seems likely that the home button will be gone by the time December rolls around. In addition, there have been several supposed leaks of images of the front of the iPhone 8- while these have to be taken with a pinch of salt until the latest model is officially released, none of them include the home button- a telling sign.

Why exactly are Apple ditching the home button?

Apple may be removing the home button due to pressure from the public to come up with something new. When the iPhone 7 hit stores last year, many complained that it was little more than a rehash of the iPhone 6, apart from removing the headphone jack. Abandoning the home button will therefore set the latest version of Apple’s flagship product apart from its predecessors, and also help bring the iPhone in line with overall trends in the phone industry.

Nowadays, most models feature a touch screen that takes up virtually the whole of the front of the phone. Until now, the iPhone’s home button got in the way of that- but without it, the screen will now be able to extend all the way to the edge. How will Apple replace the button, though? According to rumors flying around, there will instead be a “virtual” home button that appears and disappears as needed, and can be moved anywhere around the screen.

iphone 8 mock up

iphone 8 mock up

However, the home button isn’t just a regular button anymore. In the last couple of iPhone models, it’s also functioned as a fingerprint sensor, allowing users to unlock their phones without putting in their password. Some apps, such as mobile banking apps, have also taken advantage of fingerprint recognition. It seems like that will be gone for now, though. It’s rumored that Apple has tried to put fingerprint recognition under the glass of the touch screen, but they haven’t quite perfected this yet. We might see a return of fingerprint recognition in the iPhone 9, but it’s unlikely that it’ll be a feature of the iPhone 8.

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