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iPad and iPhone may drop home button, get more iLife apps

updated 12:00 am EST, Thu January 13, 2011

iPad 2 and iPhone 5 may scrap home button

Apple's introduction of four- and five-finger gestures in iOS 4.3 may have presaged a decision to scrap the home button from the next-generation iPad and iPhone. A rumor Wednesday night claimed staff were already testing versions of both where, once awake, the device would need to use the four or five finger pinch and swipe motions exclusively for the home screen and task switcher. The BGR relay didn't know for certain if it would reach the iPad and iPhone updates this year but said it was a possibility.

Along with the interface change, Apple is claimed to be developing more iOS parallels to Mac apps. iMovie may be joined by more iLife titles, although which wasn't mentioned. Photo Booth was supposedly more certain and would reach at least the new iPad and its widely mentioned dual cameras. Apple would most likely charge extra for the iLife apps through the App Store but could give Photo Booth away for free.

Dropping the home button could be controversial and would drop one of the most iconic elements of iOS device design. However, it would parallel a similar move by Google. Android 3.0 devices such as the Motorola Xoom have no front buttons at all and instead rely on the onscreen interface for nearly all aspects. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs reportedly wanted a button-free design at first but would just now be achieving it with iOS 4.3 and matching hardware.

by MacNN Staff



  1. facebook_Adrian

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2011


    Nice idea, but bad for usability/accessibility

    Seems to me that Apple could be putting too much into multi-touch without thinking about people with limited fingers. I am very fortune enough to have all of my 10 fingers (although some would only say I only have 9 since I am married), but there are many that are not, making Multi-touch with 4 or 5 fingers somewhat of a problem. Even with all of your fingers, I think using 3, 4, or 5 fingers to navigate a phone or tablet device seems to be to much of a stretch and downright dumb. Apple eliminated the touch wheel on the Nano which is so freaking annoying to use. The best thing about using the iPhone is that you can do most of your navigating using your thumb. Everything from unlocking the phone, to texting, to switching your screens, to choosing a app, to multi-tasking, can all be done with your thumb. If I have to do all of that with multiple fingers, that would be bad user experience with phone. May be good for the iPad, but not so much for a phone. But hey, I could be wrong. These guys have away of making things work well, but they do F-up every so often. Maybe it will be a option..... or not.

  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hopefully not

    Hopefully Apple will have the sense not build iOS around people remembering if this or that feature requires a three (or is it four) finger swipe. Even the guy who demoed the new multi-swipe features at the last big Apple event seemed to be confusing them.

  1. chas_m



    Trust me on this

    Apple has the imagination to remember that not everyone is blessed with all 10 fingers.

    Rumour reports should have a rating, ranging from "Plausible" through "Maybe" to "Not Bloody Likely" or "In Your Dreams, Ballmer." :)

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Could they make a waterproof...

    ...version minimizing or sealing the few 'ports' ?

  1. phillymjs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    We do need SOME buttons!

    In a sealed device where battery removal is not an option, we need some physical buttons to be able to initiate an if-all-else-fails reboot. Otherwise, we'll be stuck with a frozen device until the battery dies.

  1. tundaman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bad Idea

    IMHO, the home button is essential to control the iPhone when I'm using my other hand for something else(like when I'm driving). In those situations, I usually control the iPhone with my thumb and I cannot see how a 4/5 fingers swap could be a substitute for that, since I'll need my other hand to hold the iPhone.

    Besides, "why fix something when it isn't broken"???

  1. facebook_Doug

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2011



    I thought I'd be able to take my iPad on vacation with me and upload pictures that I downloaded to the iPad via the Camera Connection Kit. This is not actually possible. There's no way to upload your pictures from the iPad to anywhere. (Except emailing one at a time to Facebook.) Since I didn't want to pack both my MacBook and my iPad on a trip, I sold the iPad. If there was an iWeb for the iPad so I could continue my regular workflow I would buy another iPad.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Bad idea

    Besides, "why fix something when it isn't broken"???

    Just because no one realizes it isn't broken, doesn't mean it isn't broken? Oh, wait, maybe it does.

    It all just reminds me of Apple wasting years and years to develop a "multi-button" mouse, only to 'fix' it by making it just 'one' button (or no buttons or whatever), with sensors and forcing users to re-learn mousing. All just to 'fix' the 'problem' caused by having two distinct buttons.

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    That a blatant ripoff

    of the HTC Sense pinch gesture to display home screens.

    When will Apple stop copying other people's hard work??

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    >>>This is not actually possible. There's no way to upload your pictures from the iPad to anywhere.

    Yes. It's a crippled device for crippled minds.

    >>>I sold the iPad.

    Good for you. That's the first step to rehabilitation. Purge yourself from all this iOS hype.
    There's a good Droid waiting for you somewhere out there.

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