Would it be possible for apple to eliminate the home button?

sxiang518

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 29, 2013
1
0
I have been using iPhone since 3GS, and I have tried other android phones as well. I currently like phones that have a touch home button(take s4 for example). Personally, it is a much better experience than using the physical button on iPhone, because it feels the button is more integrated with touchscreen experience. Well, just speaking of the home button.
Iphone is still using the physical button. A lot of my friends use the touch assistance on iPhone to avoid physical home button, this might suggests people really need a touch home button on the iPhone. Right now, the 5s has a touch ID, this means the home button can actually sense your finger on it. Why does not apple expand this function more than just using TouchID to unlock or making a payment? I have thought some possible way to improve the usage of home button on 5s.
1.When you are using a app, simply press the finger on the home button for 2 seconds. And it will go back to the home screen just as we use the physical button. This requires no touch ID.
2.More over, if you press your finger again on the home screen, the phone will show the background app.

Apple fans, please tell me what do you think of this. Do you prefer the old fashion way or you are on the same page with me.
 

Retired Cat

macrumors 65816
Jun 12, 2013
1,210
379
There was a news article on Macrumors several weeks ago about an Apple patent for integrating TouchID into the entire display.

I think at that this would allow for a virtual home button and free up physical space for a bigger screen. That's what I'm expecting in the iPhone 6 next year.
 

zhenya

macrumors 604
Jan 6, 2005
6,669
3,270
I'm skeptical for two reasons. One, my experience with virtual buttons like that is pretty poor. Devices I've had like that trigger accidental presses regularly. That never happens with a physical button. Second, with TouchID now integrated into the button it's an extremely seamless experience to pick the phone up, place your thumb on the sensor by feel, and the phone is unlocked by the time it's in your line of sight. I can't see any of the existing virtual buttons retaining this level of reliability.
 

takeshi74

macrumors 601
Feb 9, 2011
4,974
68
A lot of my friends use the touch assistance on iPhone to avoid physical home button, this might suggests people really need a touch home button on the iPhone.
All it indicates is that they prefer using touch assistance. Plenty also prefer using a physical home button. You'll need a much better sampling than "a lot of my friends" to prove the masses want to do away with the physical home button.

Right now, the 5s has a touch ID, this means the home button can actually sense your finger on it.
How did you reach this conclusion? The home button has to be pressed to use touch ID.

Why does not apple expand this function more than just using TouchID to unlock or making a payment?
It was just introduced on the 5s. It's possible that they're working on expanding it. It's also possible that they're not. Not sure how you reached your conclusion but changes like this don't happen instantly.
 

ylerT

macrumors regular
Jun 10, 2011
203
0
Las Vegas
How did you reach this conclusion? The home button has to be pressed to use touch ID.
Not true. Touch ID can be used a few ways without physically pressing the home button. In fact, the setup wizard for Touch ID is done without ever pressing it.

Also, when purchasing an App and your prompted for the fingerprint, you do not need to press the home button. Another way to test this would be to click the power button to wake your device instead of the home button, you can simply set your finger on the button and it will unlock your device.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,554
1,871
I like a capacitive button but I don't mind the physical home button. Capacitive tends to not wear out but is more prone to accidental presses.

I actually prefer all on screen buttons because they can do a lot more via software (rotate, move off the screen to reduce bezel while increasing screen size, do other things then just home, etc).

----------

All it indicates is that they prefer using touch assistance. Plenty also prefer using a physical home button. You'll need a much better sampling than "a lot of my friends" to prove the masses want to do away with the physical home button.


How did you reach this conclusion? The home button has to be pressed to use touch ID.


It was just introduced on the 5s. It's possible that they're working on expanding it. It's also possible that they're not. Not sure how you reached your conclusion but changes like this don't happen instantly.

Just resting your finger on the button works.
 

spinedoc77

macrumors G3
Jun 11, 2009
9,490
3,471
I hope that they do not eliminate the home button. Cant stand those virtual buttons.
Same here, one of the reasons I went back to an iPhone was the hardware button. Maybe they can make it smaller or lower down the bezel, but please don't ever eliminate it.
 

Col Ronson

macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2008
619
2
I'm skeptical for two reasons. One, my experience with virtual buttons like that is pretty poor. Devices I've had like that trigger accidental presses regularly. That never happens with a physical button. Second, with TouchID now integrated into the button it's an extremely seamless experience to pick the phone up, place your thumb on the sensor by feel, and the phone is unlocked by the time it's in your line of sight. I can't see any of the existing virtual buttons retaining this level of reliability.
True. But you can count on apple if they do something like this to make it legit. Just like fingerprint scanners before Touch ID were gimmicky and inconvenient, and how touchscreen phones before the iPhone were nothing special.
 

ttinc

macrumors regular
Sep 12, 2013
126
0
Yes, please! I think it's a waste of space and it's the first thing to start malfunctioning on the device.

Here's how I would do it: use the sleep/power button to turn the screen on/off and then use three fingers to pinch when wanting to exit to the home screen instead of pushing the home button and then use two fingers to swipe up to bring up multi tasking instead of double clicking the home button.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,554
1,871
Yes, please! I think it's a waste of space and it's the first thing to start malfunctioning on the device.



Here's how I would do it: use the sleep/power button to turn the screen on/off and then use three fingers to pinch when wanting to exit to the home screen instead of pushing the home button and then use two fingers to swipe up to bring up multi tasking instead of double clicking the home button.

I think that's a pretty bad idea actually (no offense). That eliminates one handed use.
 

mpantone

macrumors 6502
Mar 20, 2009
450
0
Just resting your finger on the button works.
No, he means that when the screen is asleep, you need to press down on the home button to get the login screen. This ensures that random contact with the screen does not trigger activation.

zhenya was correct, the touch screen virtual buttons are pretty poor.

My guess is that some Android handset manufacturer will try this, see how bad it is, then go back to a physical home button.

I also assume that Apple has investigated the virtual home button in prototype designs over the past couple of years, but it is soundly rejected by the senior executives (Cook, Ives, Mansfield, etc.). It is likely that Apple could implement such a virtual home button, but have repeatedly concluded that is a negative to the overall user experience in the technology's current state.
 

mpantone

macrumors 6502
Mar 20, 2009
450
0
Maybe, maybe not. There are a number of benefits to a physical home button, some of which have been previously discussed.

One thing for sure, with a physical button I can easily tell if I'm holding the device in the proper orientation, even if the phone is in my pocket.

Note that the original iPod touch did not have physical volume rocker buttons; the design relied on the virtual volume control buttons. Apple introduced the physical volume control buttons with the second generation iPod touch.

It's not just about the technology, much of it is about the overall user experience.

Without a doubt, there are some people at Apple who like the smaller iPhone screen. Clearly, Apple has had many opportunities to super-size the iPhone, yet it did so very modestly with the iPhone 5. Just because something is technically possible to accomplish doesn't automatically make it better.
 

jamezr

macrumors G5
Aug 7, 2011
13,292
11,448
US
I hope that they do not eliminate the home button. Cant stand those virtual buttons.
I am with you on this!
Its funny...the best selling smartphones are phones with physical home buttons that have to be pushed......
Galaxy S and Note lines.... iPhones
I think the buying public speaks with its wallet. I am not ruling out that Apple would go with a virtual button. But I see it as unlikely.
 

Michael CM1

macrumors 603
Feb 4, 2008
5,677
273
I hope that they do not eliminate the home button. Cant stand those virtual buttons.
Over the past few days I've had issues with my touchscreen. One day after a couple of taps to open Facebook, it stopped working for hours. The lock and home buttons still worked, but the touchscreen was not. Started working later in the day, then the next day stopped working. Didn't work until I was literally leaving to go to the Genius Bar. Started working, stopped for a few seconds, then came back to life and has been fine since.

When the touchscreen was wonky, the only way I could turn the thing off was a hard reset using the lock and home button. I was able to play music and get directions using Siri, plus I could've made a call had I needed to.

So before everybody gets happy about virtual everything, remember there are drawbacks. Those two physical buttons are a nice failsafe for the touchscreen.
 

hovscorpion12

macrumors 65816
Sep 12, 2011
1,338
315
USA
Yes. A physical button getting old and a thing of the past. Apple announced the iPhone 5S with the Touch ID. Apple stated that simply placing a finger on the home button will unlock you phone and make purchases. Making a capacitive touch home button without wires and configuration will possible make Touch ID to its true potential. Android and windows phones have capacitive back buttons and menu buttons, but still have a home button (Galaxy S4, galaxy Note II, Note III, HTC One). A capacitive home button will also allow Apple to increase the screen size edge to edge without any worry. A Home button will always exist with the exception of Blackberry's Z10 & Z30.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,554
1,871
Would it be possible for apple to eliminate the home button?

Over the past few days I've had issues with my touchscreen. One day after a couple of taps to open Facebook, it stopped working for hours. The lock and home buttons still worked, but the touchscreen was not. Started working later in the day, then the next day stopped working. Didn't work until I was literally leaving to go to the Genius Bar. Started working, stopped for a few seconds, then came back to life and has been fine since.



When the touchscreen was wonky, the only way I could turn the thing off was a hard reset using the lock and home button. I was able to play music and get directions using Siri, plus I could've made a call had I needed to.



So before everybody gets happy about virtual everything, remember there are drawbacks. Those two physical buttons are a nice failsafe for the touchscreen.

Volume up/down + power is how you reset a device without a physical home button. The opposite of up/down for the reset is how you take a screenshot.

In my experience with all on screen buttons I've yet to find a drawback.

This is my experience with ON SCREEN buttons.
Smaller bezel
Buttons can do more/change/rotate
Disappear completely with various media
Less likely to fail (as likely as the touchscreen entirely)
Less effort to press (sounds silly but I need to brace my iPad a bit when pressing the home button when laying down, I've nearly dropped it on my face several times lol)
 

The Doctor11

macrumors 603
Dec 15, 2013
5,923
1,334
New York
Apple should keep the home button. I love it and you dont hit it on accident. If Apple want to keep me happy they keep the home button.
 

seble

macrumors 6502a
Sep 6, 2010
935
117
Wouldn't it be cool if…

A lot of people myself included are becoming a bit tired of having a physical home button, smooth glass tapping on the screen, then a physical whack of a pretty clicky 5S button.

The 5s is clearly capable of detecting that your finger is present on the button, so why doesn't apple allow people to tap the home button on the 5S to be used as a home button, it would make for a great experience and sure could be done in a firmware update.
 

Pakaku

macrumors 68020
Aug 29, 2009
2,233
2,286
Because it's pretty difficult to accidentally press a physical home button.

Does it really take that much effort to press something?
 
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