Mark Gurman details absence of home button for iPhone 8 →

Mark Gurman is reporting that the iPhone 8 will not have a home button at all, instead having its functions replaced by gestures. While I would support the absence of a home button, many questions spring to mind based on Mark’s descriptions.

Unlocking the phone:

Across the bottom of the screen there’s a thin, software bar in lieu of the home button. A user can drag it up to the middle of the screen to open the phone.

The return of slide to unlock, but vertical? Not to say this wouldn’t work, but I’m a little skeptical. Also, how would Control Center be accessed from the Lock Screen?

Accessing multitasking (App Switcher):

When inside an app, a similar gesture starts multitasking. From here, users can continue to flick upwards to close the app and go back to the home screen. An animation in testing sucks the app back into its icon. The multitasking interface has been redesigned to appear like a series of standalone cards that can be swiped through, versus the stack of cards on current iPhones, the images show.

  1. What happens to Control Center if its swipe-up gesture is changed to open the App Switcher? Does it become the card on the far-right, similar to iOS 11 on iPad? Does it get relegated to the Cover Sheet?

This sounds a lot like the following videos discovered in iOS 11 beta by Guilherme Rambo on Twitter. I would prefer Control Center become the far-right card on the App Switcher.

  1. What happens to accessing Siri via button? Tap and hold on the indicator? What about when the indicator is hidden, as hinted at in the iOS 11 beta (discovered by Steve Troughton-Smith)?

  1. Redesign of the App Switcher cards sounds a lot like iOS 7’s initial implementation. Quite honestly, I don’t prefer one design over another, but perhaps there’s a reason behind this change that isn’t yet apparent.

I have been advocating for the removal of any home button indicator and implementation of 3D Touch, but what Gurman describes sounds like a nice middle ground. If true, getting in and out of apps will be faster than ever.

Mark also mentions that Apple will embrace the notch cutout an the top of the screen.

Apple has opted to not hide the notch area at the top of the screen, showing a definitive cutout at the top of apps with non-black backgrounds. The cutout is noticeable during app usage in the middle of the very top of the screen, where the status bar (the area that shows cellular reception, the time, and battery life) would normally be placed, according to the images. Instead, the status bar will be split into left and right sides, which some Apple employees call “ears” internally. In images of recent test devices, the 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. Because of limited space, the status bar could change based on the task at hand, according to a person familiar with the testing.

Makes sense to make use of the space for indicators, but it would definitely take some getting used to.