There are plenty of leaked iPhone 7 photos floating around right now, supposedly showing the dual camera setup on the iPhone 7 Plus and redesigned antenna lines. But a brand new set of pictures suggests the iPhone 7 might bring us a major design change, even though the handset is expected to resemble the iPhone 6s for the most part.
While it’s quite unlikely, this is a rumor I desperately want to believe it.
Somewhere in China, someone snapped the following images, which show an iPhone 6s-like handset that lacks both a headphone jack and the famous iPhone home button. Found by Apple Insider, the images can’t be verified at this time, but captions accompanying them say the button and Touch ID sensor are integrated into the display.
Removing the home button from the iPhone isn’t a new idea. More and more reports and Apple’s own patents suggest the move is planned at some point in the future. It’s just that we didn’t expect such a change to arrive so soon… and we still don’t.
By removing the button, Apple can offer a larger screen in a more compact design. In fact, a sound theory explaining the absence of the headphone jack in the next-gen iPhone suggests Apple wants to do away with the standard 3.5mm jack to extend the screen of the phone further down the face.
Now, as much as I like the idea of an iPhone design with no home button, Apple can’t remove it as easily as you might think. Over the years, Apple added more and more features to the button, making it indispensable for the iPhone at this time.
The home button is used for the following actions: turning on the screen, returning to the home screen, multitasking, opening Siri, and one-handed use with Reachability. That said, most of these actions can be replaced by 3D Touch on future iPhones and always-on Siri.
However, the Touch ID functionality is the key feature of the home button. It lets you unlock the device, confirm Apple Pay payments, sign into iOS apps, perform App Store purchases, and basically anything else tied to your fingerprint. Unless Apple has found a way to integrate Touch ID into the display, a technology the company has been researching, the home button is here to stay.
Now, there’s nothing to prove the image is legit. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest the opposite is the case. A close inspection shows us there’s no definitive trace of a front-facing camera or speaker, which aren’t likely to go away from the next-gen iPhone. Furthermore, the dual speakers have five-hole speaker grills (rather than six or more, as seen on current iPhones), and the tiny screws flanking the Lightning port seem to be missing.
The iPhone 7 is expected to launch in mid-September, which means there’s plenty of time to see whether other leaks will support this particular rumor.