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Apple may replace the home button with a ‘function area’ on the next iPhone

Apple may replace the home button with a ‘function area’ on the next iPhone

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iOS 8 on the iPhone 6

The next iPhone could see the elimination of the Home button and Touch ID sensor in favor of an edge-to-edge design and “virtual buttons” at the bottom of the screen. The rumors come from the well-sourced Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst for KGI, via MacRumors.

There is said to be a new phone with a 5.8-inch OLED screen (2800 x 1242), but with a 5.15-inch useful screen size with the rest of the screen used for virtual buttons at the bottom. Kuo believes the phone “will come with other biometric technologies that replace the current fingerprint recognition technology,” though it’s not clear what those technologies could be.

Kuo goes on to note that the 5.8-inch OLED device will likely have a similar footprint as the 4.7-inch TFT-LED iPhone (like the current iPhone 7), though with a larger display size and battery life comparable to a larger 5.5-inch TFT-LCD iPhone (like the current iPhone 7 Plus).

Prior rumors have suggested that Apple may include curved screens in its 2017 iPhone lineup, with the possibility of three different phones, with two 5.5-inch models and a smaller 4.7-inch model. A recently granted Apple patent showed a method by which Apple could embed a Touch ID fingerprint sensor right in the screen, while a note from Kuo last month said that Apple was exploring changes to Touch ID.