Could force touch finally spell the end of the home button?

sully54

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 15, 2012
232
319
Canada
I was just thinking, force touch could have the potential for apple to finally get rid of the home button for the iPhone 7. touch id could be integrated to a thinner bezel and make for a more minimalist display. i hope apple is working on this.
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
14,792
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Seems unlikely to me so early. Force touch isn't really discoverable, so it would take a lot of reeducation. Maybe a few generations down the line.
 
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soupcan

macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2014
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Netherlands
One one hand, yes. On the other hand, it limits 3rd party devs from incorporation Force Touch into their apps since it will also mean "go to home".
 
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Tthomas612

macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2013
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285
Idk ... I honestly think that the home button is here to stay... It's synonymous with the iPhone.
 
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Harmonious Zen

macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2013
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Good point, but both are circular and help to identify those products as Apple products. I've used phones without a home button and I definitely prefer the click of a button, but that's just me.
Yeah, but that's because you've sort of been conditioned to be that way. I agree with Arn that it could potentially mean that we do away with the home button eventually, but not in the next iPhone. There's also the question of what you do with Touch ID if you don't have a home button.
 
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Andres Cantu

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May 31, 2015
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Yeah, but that's because you've sort of been conditioned to be that way. I agree with Arn that it could potentially mean that we do away with the home button eventually, but not in the next iPhone. There's also the question of what you do with Touch ID if you don't have a home button.
I guess I have :p
Not having a home button will also create the need for alternative ways of launching multitasking, siri, taking screen captures, etc.
 
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keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,537
25,261
What if you had a virtual home button with Force Touch? Like, an edge-to-edge display and a virtual home button on the bottom? Of course not sure how that would even work, or if that's a good idea with leaving it purely software related (difficult to do hard resets and the like). I suppose that would eliminate a lot of wasted screen space with the top/bottom bezels and such.

At any rate I can't imagine what the iPhones in a decade would look like. The form factor has remained largely unchanged for so long, they'd surely be looking towards something different. However I'll be the first to admit I'm being quite optimistic . :)
 
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scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
6,627
342
I was just thinking, force touch could have the potential for apple to finally get rid of the home button for the iPhone 7. touch id could be integrated to a thinner bezel and make for a more minimalist display. i hope apple is working on this.
If you look at Apple Watch, even with force touch you still have a "home button" function through pressing the digital crown. There are too many functions (home, task switching, force quit, cold restart, screen grab) depending on a physical button that it's unlikely to be replaced by force touch, which has its own functions and features that it serves.
 
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solodogg

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2011
502
210
Orlando
i think you will see the home button become fixed, and the taptic feedback engine used to mimic the clicks (similar to the touchpad on the new macbook). would eliminate a lot of the touch id clicking complaints, remove another moving part from the phone, and give a much better feedback, with the possibility of force click being used for other options on the phone also.

That change could be made rather simply, but removing the button completely could possibly become confusing for users without some way of highlighting it.
 
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willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
10,300
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I was just thinking, force touch could have the potential for apple to finally get rid of the home button for the iPhone 7. touch id could be integrated to a thinner bezel and make for a more minimalist display. i hope apple is working on this.
Seems unlikely to me so early. Force touch isn't really discoverable, so it would take a lot of reeducation. Maybe a few generations down the line.
We're one step closer.
 
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bhayes444

macrumors 6502a
Jul 13, 2013
772
291
I guess I have :p
Not having a home button will also create the need for alternative ways of launching multitasking, siri, taking screen captures, etc.
I doubt the home button will go away anytime soon, but the three things you mentioned could be done without the home button. Multitasking can be launched by force pressing the left edge of the screen, Siri could be called up by saying "hey Siri" anywhere, and the screenshot could just use the power button and volume down (like some other phones do). Although the first two replacements I mentioned are less elegant, and less quick, than what we have now.

Apple will most likely keep the home button design somewhere on the phone. I don't know if they could integrate it fully into the display as I thought the metal ring around it is required for TouchID to work correctly. Making the home button more useful would be nice, like swiping across it in certain directions to perform an action; or turning it into a large, but not too bright, LED notification area.
 
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blasto2236

macrumors 6502a
Nov 4, 2012
778
384
I doubt the home button will go away anytime soon, but the three things you mentioned could be done without the home button. Multitasking can be launched by force pressing the left edge of the screen, Siri could be called up by saying "hey Siri" anywhere, and the screenshot could just use the power button and volume down (like some other phones do). Although the first two replacements I mentioned are less elegant, and less quick, than what we have now.

Apple will most likely keep the home button design somewhere on the phone. I don't know if they could integrate it fully into the display as I thought the metal ring around it is required for TouchID to work correctly. Making the home button more useful would be nice, like swiping across it in certain directions to perform an action; or turning it into a large, but not too bright, LED notification area.
Keep in mind that the post you're responding to was made before 3D touch existed and at a time when "Hey Siri" only worked while plugged into power and therefore was not being used as ubiquitously. As far as the future of the home button, I'm interested to see where it goes. I agree that it may not be gone entirely this generation, but who knows? It seems necessary for a major redesign at this point. But essentially the entire screen would need to be capable of being a TouchID sensor in order to get rid of it.
 
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Nozuka

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Jul 3, 2012
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Cold restarting the device has already moved from the Home Button to the Volume-down Button on the iPhone 7. Same for DFU Mode

(You still have to press power too)
 
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Truefan31

macrumors 68040
Aug 25, 2012
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I think we're heading there. Not sure about the iPhone 8 but eventually it'll just be a clean glass display on the front.
 
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Shirasaki

macrumors G3
May 16, 2015
9,644
3,618
If there is something which is the exact equivalent of home button, then home button can be removed.
But without home button, how much do we left as Apple DNA? When iPhone is no longer distinguishable from exterior alone, how others can immediately notice "hey, here is an iPhone user"? If Apple keeps dropping out their DNA features and designs, they will have a very hard time to compete with other Android users design wise.
 
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unagimiyagi

macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2009
893
225
So far force touch is nothing more than a right click. I prefer the home button. It's comforting and orienting and in stark contrast to Android where you have to be careful how and where you grip the phone because of the capacitive buttons. The more real buttons, the better as far as I'm concerned.
 
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blasto2236

macrumors 6502a
Nov 4, 2012
778
384
If there is something which is the exact equivalent of home button, then home button can be removed.
But without home button, how much do we left as Apple DNA? When iPhone is no longer distinguishable from exterior alone, how others can immediately notice "hey, here is an iPhone user"? If Apple keeps dropping out their DNA features and designs, they will have a very hard time to compete with other Android users design wise.
I don't know that the home button is as distinguishing or iconic as some folks around here think it is. Yes, it was a huge deal when the phone came out 10 years ago. Now? Not so much. You would be surprised the number of iPhone owners who have no idea what it's even called.
 
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yep-sure

macrumors 6502
Sep 21, 2012
495
563
Melbourne, Australia
I don't know that the home button is as distinguishing or iconic as some folks around here think it is. Yes, it was a huge deal when the phone came out 10 years ago. Now? Not so much. You would be surprised the number of iPhone owners who have no idea what it's even called.
A phone with a round button located under the screen, centre justified, is the iconic image of the iPhone.

For example, the below is instantly recognisable.

http://simpleicon.com/wp-content/uploads/iphone.png
 
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MICHAELSD

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
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NJ
Get rid of the bezel and have the home button take up as minimal space as possible. I use "button" loosely with the new home button.
 
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Shockwave78

macrumors 65816
Jul 10, 2010
1,077
58
Bottom bezel is here to stay for quite some time, the top one will shrink down first to near bezeless at some points. If they want to get rid of the home button then have two seperate force touch engines, one for the main screen and one for the bottom bezel. This way it will not affect apps.
 
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Nozuka

macrumors 68020
Jul 3, 2012
2,310
2,947
if they can find a good way to replace it, why not.
they'll find another way to make it recognizable
 
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