Mobile

No home button might be the best thing for the iPhone

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I try not to get up in arms about leaks from the rumor mill that have a 50/50 chance of only ever being just that – a rumor. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about the possible outcomes should these rumors end up being true. I find that I’m particularly fond of the rumors that sound too bizarre to be true. Lately, the rumor mill seems to be having an absolute field day with iPhones near and far.

We’re still at least a few weeks away from the iPhone 7, but we already know that there’s a strong possibility of Apple omitting the 3.5mm headphone jack this year. While this rumor initially caused outrage at the idea (myself included) I’ve since changed my stance that, while inconvenient, probably won’t do much to iPhone sales in the long run. I think initially it might cause people to pause before purchasing, especially because people would make it seem like Apple is the first company to do this (they’re not); however, since they would without question be the biggest company to make this move, I would expect for it to be a much bigger deal if nothing else.

But the plausible removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack is yesterday’s news, and we need more of those sweet, sweet rumors to fuel our addiction. Luckily, fortune shines upon us this day (well, yesterday actually) in the form of a new rumor regarding next year’s iPhone: allegedly, Apple plans to ditch the iPhone’s iconic home button.

My mind immediately dismissed the rumor as exaggeration. Why would Apple get rid of the iconic home button? It’s iconic! But upon deeper reflection, the rumor doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all.

Since smartphones have arguably reached their size threshold to the point where nobody can feasibly claim to have the biggest or thinnest phone without sounding like a broken record, the not-so-newest thing that manufacturers seem to be focusing on is increasing the screen’s real estate without making any more physical changes to the phone. And how do you get that done? By decreasing the size of the bezels. Luckily for Apple, they have plenty of room to spare – if they get rid of the home button. Or at the very least just move it.

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A few manufacturers have taken to putting their fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone(the Nexus 5X, for example), which is even favorable to many. I’m in the camp that prefers the fingerprint scanner to be on the front of the phone, where Apple and Samsung currently house their home buttons, because I frequently unlock my phone while the phone is resting on a desk or table without picking it up. However, when I’m holding the phone in my hand, I tend to agree that having a fingerprint sensor on the back is more convenient. It would only be a slight inconvenience not to have the front home button accessible anymore.

Overall, I think people would probably adjust to the removal of the home button – as we know it, at least – fairly well if that meant getting a larger screen. That’s better than removing the 3.5mm headphone jack without much rhyme or reason, aside from pushing the idea that headphones with Lightning ports are doing anybody a favor.

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