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Circuit Breaker

This iPhone 8 concept video imagines a touchscreen in the home button

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I just saw this iPhone 8 concept made by Thadeu Brandão, and I have to say I'm intrigued. The phone looks almost exactly like the iPhone 7 from the back, but in front there's one of those bezel-less screens I've been dreaming about. To make room for all that LCD (or OLED?), Thadeu moved the earpiece up to nearly the top of the phone, but left the home button indent exactly where it is on existing iPhones. And then, instead of just pretending like the button isn't there, the concept video shows a bunch of different imaginative UIs which utilize the button and the bottom part of the screen a little bit like the MacBook Touch Bar.

This got me thinking: is this a good idea? Right now the iPhone home button already has a lot of tasks. You "click" it to go home (the original functionality), or to unlock the phone with Touch ID. You press and hold to talk to Siri, double tap (not click) to make the screen slide down for thumb reachability, double click (not tap) when the phone is locked to pull up Apple Pay, long tap to pay with Apple Pay, double click to pull up the app switcher when the phone is unlocked, and probably a few other things I'm forgetting.

Thadeu Brandão

How I'm guessing Thadeu's iPhone 8 concept would work, or at least how I’d like it to work, is the home button would be single tappable when you're in an app and that would do something contextual in that app. Like the camera shutter button, for instance. Or play / pause. If you click the button it would still go home, though.

Would this hurt my brain if this feature existed in real iPhones you could buy in stores? Possibly. Would it be hard to click the home button without also accidentally activating the contextual tap action, and vice versa? Most likely. Still, I'd like to give it a shot. Maybe my thumb has the bandwidth for one more job.