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The iPhone 8’s dock might work more like the new iPad’s

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New report details how Apple could redesign the iPhone’s UI to fit its new edge-to-edge display

A leaked icon reportedly showing the iPhone 8’s display, with no home button and a “notch” at the top of the device.
Guilherme Rambo

All the rumors about the upcoming iPhone 8 point to Apple making some fairly big changes to the device’s user interface, with tweaks needed to accommodate the removal of the home button and the addition of a “notch” housing the phone’s camera and sensors at the top of the display.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has a new report on how exactly these changes could be implemented, with Gurman’s sources suggesting that Apple is looking for ways to replace the functionality usually assigned to the home button. (E.g. returning to the home screen, opening up the multitasking interface, and accessing Siri.)

In the dodgy supply chain of Apple leaks, it’s often better to repeat then paraphrase, so here’s what Gurman is predicting for the iPhone 8 UI:

  • Dock: The dock housing commonly-used apps will be “redesigned with a new interface similar to the one on the iPad version of iOS 11.” Underneath the dock will be a “thin, software bar in lieu of the home button.” Users can drag up from here to the middle of the display to open the phone, or use the same gesture to start multitasking when inside an app.
  • Multitasking: This interface will be “redesigned to appear like a series of standalone cards that can be swiped through, versus the stack of cards on current iPhones.”
  • Status bar: This will be split into two “ears” on either side of the notch. “[T]he left side shows the time while the area on the right side of the notch displays cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity and remaining battery life,” writes Gurman. Whether or not Apple will choose to hide the notch by making the status bar black has been the subject of some speculation, but Gurman reports the company will embrace it, with leaked images “showing a definitive cutout at the top of apps with non-black backgrounds.” The status bar will also reportedly “change based on the task at hand,” although exactly how is unclear.

Of course, this is just rumor at this point, and the final UI for the iPhone 8 may differ from what’s stated above in any number of ways. However, there is some evidence for this redesigned interface. As developer Steve Troughton-Smith points out on Twitter, the UI described by Gurman’s sources matches leaked iOS 11 gestures uncovered back in May. Troughton-Smith also tweeted this image showing how the redesigned status bar and dock might look:

If true, these changes will only apply to the iPhone 8, with Apple expected to unveil two new, more pedestrian iterations on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus as well. The iPhone 8 is also expected to start at $999, have a front-facing camera that will use facial recognition for unlocking the phone and payments, and be available in a new color my colleague Jake Kastrenakes described as “ugly, pinkish bronze.”

Apple will reportedly be unveiling the new iPhones on September 12th. Stay tuned for more.