Apple Looking to Eliminate Home Button on iOS Devices, Integrate Touch and Display Driver Chips?

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
7,437
8,501



Apple is seeking to develop an in-house single-chip solution for integrating both the touchscreen and display drivers for mobile devices onto one chip, according to a new report today from Taiwanese site DigiTimes. The touch and display driver integration (TDDI) chips would also include "integrated fingerprint sensors", potentially allowing Apple to do away with the iconic home button.
Apple is internally developing touch and display driver integration (TDDI) single-chip solutions for its iPhones, according to sources in Taiwan's IC design industry.

The TDDI single-chip solutions will also come with integrated fingerprint sensors, said the sources. The integrated design would fit into future iPhone designs - models with ultra-thin and ultra-narrow displays, and with a whole plane design eliminating the Home button.
TDDI is a new advance in the industry, with Synaptics introducing the first such solution earlier this year. Synaptics created its new TDDI chips by leveraging its recent acquisition of chipmaker Renesas SP Drivers, combining Synaptics' touch technology chipset with Renasas' display technology. Apple reportedly explored acquiring Renesas SP Drivers last year but the talks failed to lead to a deal.


Synaptics had hoped its acquisition of Renesas SP Drivers and its TDDI chips would entice Apple to once again become a Synaptics customer, but today's report suggests Apple is pursuing its own solutions.

DigiTimes suggests Apple's solution could eliminate the traditional iOS device home button, presumably by integrating its functionality into the device's screen, something Apple has explored in previous patent applications. This could allow future iPhones to see increased display sizes with edge-to-edge screens or smaller form factors with the same 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays seen on today's models.

Article Link: Apple Looking to Eliminate Home Button on iOS Devices, Integrate Touch and Display Driver Chips?
 
  • Like
Reactions: kds1

lowercaseperson

macrumors 6502
Oct 5, 2006
293
87
Good! About time they try and maximize screen space for the form factor. With their unrelenting desire to make everything thinner and lighter, I never understood why they wouldn't also want to eliminate the "wasted" space on the front of the phone.
 

Dilster3k

macrumors 6502a
Jul 20, 2014
791
3,179
Seems practical, I'd be down for that.

Besides, on current Touch ID home buttons double tapping seems intuitive... I wondered why they don't allow users to enable single tapping to emulate a button click. This would be also great for users who have weaker or broken home buttons.
 

KieranDotW

macrumors 6502a
Apr 12, 2012
621
68
Canada
I was thinking about the possibility of a completely edge-to-edge display the other day. Realistically I don't see why the earpiece couldn't be moved to the top of the device, and then with this technology there would be no need for a physical home button. It would certainly be a welcome change from Apple's huge bezels and give them an edge (pardon the pun) over the competition.
 

cmichaelb

macrumors 68020
Aug 6, 2008
2,227
653
Italy
I would assume screenshots and rebooting would done via a combination between the volume and power buttons.

Smaller size would be great.

This technology seems a ways off in my opinion. I don't think we'll see this for at least a few years.
That's an excellent point.
 

Jsameds

Suspended
Apr 22, 2008
3,530
7,714
Urgh. I hate software buttons for these kind of uses. Samsung Galaxies are the worst for it. Can't even hold the phone without it triggering the back button all the time, it's awful.

iPhone's have it pretty much perfect with the balance of software/hardware buttons and switches. Physical home button all the way for me.
 

BMcCoy

macrumors 68000
Jun 24, 2010
1,582
3,064
Synaptics are doing some amazing things with integrated displays.. really exciting and innovative.
I keep expecting to hear that Apple have bought them, but it seems not..

Still, this would be an exciting route for Apple to go with the iDevices, with some amazing creative possibilities.
 

aristokrat

macrumors regular
Apr 15, 2007
184
7
They definitely need to keep some kind of hardware buttons that have the ability to force quit/reboot the device. I'm so tired of all-touch devices that become practically useless once something hangs/crashes because the screen/touch buttons can't get any CPU time. Even the best developers will 100% continue to create new bugs (which is no one's fault), and there's nothing more frustrating than being locked out of your device.

I recently had to de-solder the power cables in a touch-only device to get it to reboot. So stupid.