Monday, August 28, 2017

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

iPhone 8: How Face ID could work

Thanks to the accidentally leaked HomePod firmware, 1 it’s almost certain that Touch ID will not continue in the iPhone 8. Apple may be opting for a face unlocking feature dubbed ‘Pearl ID’.

Facial biometrics have always been a lacking mechanism for security, at least in the consumer market. It’s pretty bad in most implementations, so everyone is up in arms about this feature possibly replacing the tried-and-true Touch ID we’ve had since the iPhone 5S. Which, if you remember, doubters largely acted the same way about fingerprint sensors when Touch ID was announced. The point is: everyone seems to forget that Apple undoubtedly has found ways to overcome the downsides of these implementations, or they wouldn’t be doing this.

Since Pearl ID is a speculated name, let’s just call it Face ID for the sake of this post. Here’s how I could see it working.

Unlocking the Phone

Apple changed the unlocking behavior in iOS 10 from a press of the home button to simply resting your finger on it. I now believe Apple made this change to pave the way for Face ID. Why? Let’s think about what’s required to only unlock an iPhone right now with Touch ID.

Unlocking with Touch ID

  1. Wake your phone via:
    • Raise to wake.
    • Pressing the Sleep/Wake button.
    • Pressing the Home button with a non-registered finger.
  2. Rest your finger on the Touch ID sensor.

You can then take action on your notifications, press the Home button to go Home, launch straight into apps from the widget screen, etc. You’re authenticated.

Unlocking with Face ID

  1. Wake your phone via:

Where’s step two, you say? That’s the beauty of it — step two is handled by the phone. Whenever you are looking at the phone while the Lock Screen is presented, Face ID would authenticate you. You can then perform all the normal actions from the Lock Screen like usual. If you look away, the phone is instantly locked again.

Benefits

  • No need to specifically unlock your phone.
  • Faster access for acting on notifications.
  • Potentially more secure than Touch ID.
  • Low false positives, given that the iPhone will purportedly use 3D-sensing cameras to differentiate between a picture of your face and your actual face.

Making Purchases: App Store & Apple Pay

Touch ID can also be used to make purchases in the App Store and iTunes Store, as well as authenticate payments for Apple Pay. Here’s how Apple could replicate this with Face ID and a gesture.

Process

  • Instead of a Touch ID prompt, you are presented with a Face ID prompt and an on-screen button.
  • Simply look at the phone and hold an on-screen button for 3 seconds.

Face ID provides the biometric authentication, while holding an on-screen button would indicate intent. It also would give you time to back out (something that is actually a little harder to do with Touch ID). This would work for both App Store Purchases and Apple Pay. With Apple Pay, you would hover your iPhone over the NFC terminal like usual, then follow the process outlined above. Same goes for sending Apple Pay Cash to friends and family when iOS 11 launches in the fall.

iPhone 8-Specific Feature: App Locking

With this kind of ambient authentication, I think the iPhone 8 has the potential to receive special features taking advantage of Face ID. One I can think of is App Locking, something frequently requested to this day for use with Touch ID.

In other words, apps are only allowed to show their content if you are actively looking at the phone. Take a banking app for example. You would launch it, but it wouldn’t show anything until you actually look at the phone and are authenticated by Face ID. To take it one step further in theory: once you look away, the content could be hidden until you look back again.

The Sleep/Wake Button

I think the Face ID change is what could be driving a larger Sleep/Wake button to be present in the leaks that have come out. Because of Face ID’s ambient nature, we may benefit from easier access to the Sleep/Wake button. Making it longer would help enable that.

Also, it makes sense to differentiate this button in size from the volume up/down buttons. I never could understand why Apple made them the same size in the first place, other than for congruency. Quite a few times while trying to lock the phone while holding it a specific way, I’ve pressed both the Sleep/Wake button and Volume Down button. I’ve read others have experienced the same thing, so it would be nice to not accidentally do this anymore.

The Cover Sheet

iOS 11 replaces Notification Center with the Cover Sheet, which blurs the lines between the Lock Screen and the old Notification Center. A puzzling change to this date, Federico Viticci speculated this morning on Twitter that it may provide a way to lock the iPhone 8. While I initially disagreed with this theory, I think it’s plausible if you take into account the ambient nature of Face ID as outlined above. I would perhaps just question calling this the Cover Sheet on iPhone 8, instead of just Lock Screen.

Conclusion

Thinking this through has made me excited for Face ID and highlights the flaws of Touch ID. This kind of interaction would be something Apple is great at: simplifying things we already thought were perfect. We’re looking at our phones all the time anyway — might as well make use of our beautiful mugs.


  1. A gift that keeps on giving. 

John Gruber weighs in on names for this year’s iPhones →

Benjamin Mayo for 9to5Mac:

We’ve received a couple of photos from Apple tipster Sonny Dickson this morning that depict a dummy model for the ‘iPhone 7s Plus’, one of three new phones Apple is said to be launching this year. Although marketing branding is unknown, the ‘7s’ devices are expected to iterate on the current iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus chassis.

One distinction will be the introduction of glass backs (rather than aluminium), which this dummy model incorporates. It is believed that the phones will support inductive charging.

Gruber’s comments:

If these are legit, there’s no way Apple is going to call these devices “7S”. The S models have had minor cosmetic differences from the preceding year’s non-S iPhones, but these phones are sporting entire new designs.

I also think that the “7S” name would contribute to the notion that Apple’s “S” phones are only modest updates, when the truth is that the S phones tend to get the bigger technical improvements. I suspect Apple will use one of these sets of names:

  • iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8 Pro; or
  • iPhone, iPhone Plus, iPhone Pro

Either of these naming schemes would make all three new iPhones sound new.

While I think Apple could abandon the ‘S’ branding for its traditional update, I’d argue they could still get away with it even if the back of the phone is made out of glass for wireless charging. My main reason: most rumors and leaks indicate the front will be relatively the same as the iPhone 7/7 Plus.

Now, if the front was believed to also be receiving an edge-to-edge screen without a Touch ID home button, I’d buy into the iPhone 8/iPhone 8 Plus/iPhone Pro line of thinking. Since that’s not the case, iPhone/iPhone Plus/iPhone Pro sounds like the more believable of the two.

As for my actual guess, I’m going with: iPhone 7S, iPhone 7S Plus, iPhone. ‘iPhone’ being the new ‘Pro’ model. I wrote a post last week explaining why. Either way, it’s fun speculating.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

iPhone Pro: We’re going to use a soft home button, right?

Recently, there have been quite a few interesting takes on what Apple would do with the home button on an iPhone with an edge-to-edge screen. I’ll refer you to two takes in particular. For the sake of this post, let’s call the device in question iPhone Pro.

Make sure you read both of these in their entirety. There’s some really great thinking here.

First, Allen Pike made a case for the huge app titles in iOS 11, which could support the back button and other functions that could be relocated to the bottom of the UI. Quite brilliant, actually! I’m just not on board with a soft home button.

Then, Max Rudberg riffed on this with his own take, expanding on Allen’s concept in regards to the iPhone Pro’s alleged ‘notch’. I’m a big fan of his second concept depicted below.

Max Rudberg. iPhone D22, hiding the notch.
Max Rudberg’s concept: iPhone D22, hiding the notch.

Of his four concepts, this one seems the most likely to me. Apple could also blend in the bottom and make it black like Max’s last concept, but that would defeat the purpose of an edge-to-edge screen for me. It would be perceivably smaller in most apps as a result. Having the bottom area take over the color scheme of the app and adapting would make the most sense and in accordance with Apple’s UI design.

That said, I think Apple should take it one step further and just remove any and all representation of a home button. We’ve had ten years of training and know exactly where the home button is supposed to be — in the middle-bottom part of the phone. Why do we need a software reminder taking up screen real estate that could be better served for other purposes, as demonstrated by Allen and Max? I’ve never been a fan of soft home buttons on Android and hope Apple bucks the trend.

Here’s how I’m proposing they do it (borrowing from Max’s concept): a bottom-edge home button area activated by 3D Touch.

Edge home button, activated by 3D Touch.
Bottom-edge home button area, activated by 3D Touch.

As I’ve mentioned before, I feel the home button functionality could be replicated by a 3D Touch press along the bottom edge (the area highlighted by the red box). This would be similar to the now-removed left side 3D Touch edge press to activate the app switcher pre-iOS 11. 1

If you don’t think it would work, without looking or specifically trying to hit the home button, try pressing the red box area on your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus. If your results are similar to mine, your thumb should hit the home button’s bottom edge and activate it. This would leave the middle section free for other elements to be taken advantage of by apps or the system.

Supporting Evidence

It seems increasingly likely that the iPhone Pro will use face recognition in lieu of Touch ID. As identified by notorious iOS prodder Steve Troughton-Smith, there are references to this feature possibly being called Pearl ID. In other words, whether the home button is represented or not, your fingerprint would be irrelevant.


Steve has also discovered settings for a ‘home indicator’ (among many other things) that can be hidden by default within apps.

To this, Dave Mark from The Loop says:

This raises an interesting question. If the home button no longer has dedicated real estate but is, instead a fungible, virtual spot, with the ability to be turned on and off, what happens if an app runs full screen? How will you exit the app?

In other words, if a game takes over the full screen, presumably the home button will not be there. What will the user do to force exit the app, to return to the home screen?

To be crystal clear, I don’t see this as a problem. I see this as an interesting puzzle. We don’t know that the home button will disappear, we don’t know that developers will be allowed to grab the full screen without saving room for the home button.

Great points by Dave. I think all of this could be solved with a 3D Touch home button on the edge.

Peeking and Popping the Home Button

3D Touch can differentiate between levels of pressure, which is why we can peek/pop UI elements on the screen, but the existing static home button only interprets one level. Taking a 3D Touch-activated home button into account, here are some sample interaction methods I can think of that would be great no matter the button’s implementation.

For ease of explanation, let’s use two levels of pressure referred to as Peek and Pop.

Peeking

  • Peek: takes you back home just like normal.
  • Double Peek: enters the App Switcher just like normal.
  • Peek (hold): engages Siri just like normal.

Essentially, all the interactions we use the home button for now.

Popping

  • Peek > Pop: enters the App Switcher or engages Siri.
    • I would prefer the App Switcher in order to make up for the removed left-edge gesture, but I could see how triggering Siri could work here too.

Conclusion: UI is getting out of our way

Apple is on the cusp of releasing an iPhone that is different in many ways. In the examples described, the iOS UI and UX may differ slightly when compared to the traditional iPhone line, but to repeat the same formula for years on end just doesn’t make sense either. As Gruber has been saying, it’s risky for Apple not to try this — for what essentially could amount to a power user iPhone.

Apple has been criticized a bit for 3D Touch with regards to its hidden nature. In some cases, it’s not exactly clear what UI elements you can 3D Touch or when you can touch them. I use it quite a bit and would mostly agree, but therefore regard it as somewhat of a power user feature.

For instance, some have described the use of 3D Touch on home screen app icons as analogous to a context click on the Mac, which makes total sense. Same goes for the incredibly awesome keyboard gesture used to move the text cursor and select text. I could never go back to tap-and-hold for text selection after using the 3D Touch implementation. The thing is, most people probably don’t know of these interactions unless they’ve read about it in the Tips app, online, or someone has told them. Even then, I’d wager most people forget about them or are simply content with the basic interaction methods.

My point is this: UI is increasingly getting out of our way. Maybe we lose a little intuitiveness in the process, but I think it’s worth it. Apple is building a new interaction language that will become so ubiquitous in the coming years that its intuition will matter less and less.


  1. I’m still salty about the removal of that gesture, but perhaps this is the reason why. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

“And we’re calling it … iPhone”

It seems inevitable now, if you’ve been following recent leaks: we’re getting a next-level iPhone in the Fall. While most analysts seem to agree it will cost from $1,100 to $1,200, the jury is still fairly out on the naming for said product.

The most popular names being suggested are: iPhone 8, iPhone Pro, and iPhone X. As for my pick? I’m going with ‘iPhone’. Here’s why…

Historical Analysis

The main iPhone line’s naming has been pretty predictable due to the tried and true tick-tock cycle, but Apple is going to shake that up this year. Let’s review the main iPhone names up until now:

iPhone > iPhone 3G > iPhone 3GS > iPhone 4 > iPhone 4S > iPhone 5 > iPhone 5S > iPhone 6/6 Plus > iPhone 6S/6S Plus > iPhone 7, 7 Plus 1

Here’s what Apple has done with wholly new models: iPhone 5C, iPhone SE.

I was also going to reference all the names for iPad and Apple Watch, but instead I’ll sum it up like this: both products started out with complicated naming schemes (especially iPad), but have since been reeled in. As of late, also see the more simplistic: Apple Music, HomePod, and AirPods

What does this all tell us?

  1. Apple is very careful with the iPhone brand when it comes to marketing and naming.
  2. Apple made a natural, if initially confusing progression with the iPad naming, which it has never had to make with iPhone. MacBook is similar, though (i.e. Air, Pro).
  3. Apple is trending towards more simplistic product names. Suggestions of “Apple Phone” or similar may be in the same ballpark as other new product names, but Apple would be way off mark to not continue calling this the iPhone in some capacity.

The Case for ‘iPhone’

When Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone ten years ago, he used misdirection to describe it as three products:

  1. A phone
  2. A widescreen iPod with touch controls
  3. A breakthrough internet communications device

Let’s reinvent this line of thinking for the next-level iPhone. If it were going to be three products, I’d say:

  1. A communications device
    • Covers phone calls and messaging of all kind, in addition to social apps like Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.
  2. A powerful computer in your pocket
    • Essentially what the iPhone has become. For many, its their only computer, or most important device.
  3. An insanely-great camera

Also rumored to have an edge-to-edge screen, wireless charging, and more, the next-level iPhone is poised to be the epitome of the original and then some. It will leapfrog every goal established by Steve Jobs in its introductory keynote.

Since there’s not going to be a screen size choice, something along the lines of iPhone 8 Plus is out of the question.

Taking all this into consideration, I don’t think there’s a more perfect name than simply ‘iPhone’. Would it be confusing for people? I don’t think so; at least not any more so than iPhone 7S/7S Plus and iPhone 8 would be. Anyone looking to upgrade according to the normal tick-tock cycle will go for the iPhone 7S/7S Plus because that’s the status quo and extremely familiar. Anyone wanting next year’s iPhone today 2 will go for ‘iPhone’.

In short: iPhone 7S, iPhone 7S Plus, iPhone.

If it’s not ‘iPhone’, I’d prefer ‘iPhone X’. ‘Pro’ just doesn’t sound fitting for the iPhone line, for some reason. ‘X’ would serve two purposes: a nod to the tenth anniversary and being just plain badass.


  1. I’ve never liked 6S Plus (and soon-to-be 7S Plus) name. Too many ‘s’ sounds. 
  2. Beautifully said by Rene Ritchie. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

More price analysis on the iPhone 8 →

Horace Dediu for Asymco:

The graph shows a high degree of consistency of pattern: Every year a new iPhone is launched which replaces the one launched the year before. The older product is still offered at a reduced price. Price brackets are very firm and set at fixed intervals about $100 apart.

And…

The “floor” of the range is a consistent $400 while the “ceiling” has expanded from $700 to about $950.

This year’s ceiling is due for the fourth leg up and if the pattern persists, we should expect it to reach $1100.

Definitely check out the whole post. There’s some excellent graphs and data-driven logic. The price lines up with Gruber’s thought process as well. With growing analysis, it seems inevitable that the iPhone 8 will be the most expensive iPhone when it launches. The only thing nobody can decide on is what it will actually be called.

Friday, July 14, 2017

We have entered ‘iPhone Silly Season’ →

John Gruber tweeted the following on July 7:

Since then, a few news outlets have reported on a ‘sense of panic at Apple’ in one form or another. In particular, here’s an excerpt from a Fast Company article, “Source: A ‘Sense of Panic’ at Apple as the Next Flagship iPhone’s Software Problems Persist”:

June was a tense month for the engineers and designers on Apple’s iPhone team with “a sense of panic in the air,” a source with knowledge of the situation tells me.

The company has been working feverishly to fix software problems in its hotly anticipated 10th-anniversary iPhone that could ultimately cause production and delivery delays, the source says. If the software problems aren’t resolved quickly, the new flagship iPhone could even launch with major features disabled. [&# 8230;]

One of those is wireless charging. The iPhone 8 — let’s call it that for now — will reportedly use a type of inductive charging, where the phone sits directly on a separate charging device. (Our source believes Apple is using the Qi wireless charging standard, or a variant of it.) The wireless charging components, which are provided by chipmaker Broadcom Ltd., are not the key issue, the source said; it’s the software that’s not ready for prime time.

To which Gruber says:

That sort of matches up with what I heard — that inductive charging might miss the September debut because the software isn’t ready. I have not heard anything about any sort of “panic”. Summers are crunch time for iOS engineers, and the deadline for iOS 11.0 is probably no more than a month away at this point. But if inductive charging has to wait until 11.1 in October or November, it’ll be a disappointment, but not much more so than having to wait for the iPhone 7 Plus’s Portrait Mode to come out of beta last fall.

Gruber goes on to highlight a few more of these misrepresentations for what he has accurately dubbed ‘iPhone Silly Season’, but he sums it up well towards the end of his post:

With software Apple can (and does) play a bit fast and loose. iOS 11.0 won’t be baked until late August. But software can (and always is) patched. Hardware doesn’t work like that. Many of the decisions related to the hardware on this year’s new iPhones were made two years ago. (And there are decisions being made now for 2019’s new iPhones.)

Let’s just call the bad headlines what they are: clickbait. Everyone loves drama, but here’s a newsflash: Apple doesn’t work out of a garage anymore.

Friday, July 7, 2017

John Gruber speculates on pricing for this year’s new iPhone models. →

Excellent, well-thought out piece by Gruber on pricing and storage capacity for the three reportedly new iPhone models due out this year.

The whole thing is definitely worth the read, but here’s a few highlights and thoughts.

Assuming that’s true and that Kuo means the phones will only come in 64 and 256 GB configurations, I can see two ways this plays out for the 7S and 7S Plus:

Scenario 1:
-32 GB 7, no-S: $549 – 64 GB 7S: $649 – 256 GB 7S: $749 – 32 GB 7 Plus, no-S: $669 – 64 GB 7S Plus: $769 – 256 GB 7S Plus: $869

Scenario 2:
32 GB 7, no-S: $649
64 GB 7S: $749
256 GB 7S: $849
32 GB 7 Plus, no-S: $769
64 GB 7S Plus: $869
256 GB 7S Plus: $969

If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m basing this analysis on Ming-Chi Kuo’s reporting, I would expect 32/128/256 configurations of the 7S models, at the same prices as today’s 7 models. Apple was very slow to move beyond 16 GB base configurations; it seems odd to me that they’d be so quick to move beyond 32 GB base configurations. It also seems odd that Apple would move away from the successful good-better-best strategy of having three storage tiers. But that’s what Kuo is reporting.

It’s hard for me to think Apple will move beyond the good-better-best strategy either. If they did though, it would then make sense for them only to have 64GB and 256GB tiers for the 7S and 7S Plus models. Right in the middle.

Either way, Apple is doing so much to combat the local storage problem, it could make sense for them to break with the good-better-best tradition.

Here’s a few things Apple is doing/has done to illustrate my point:

  • App Thinning and Delta Updates have been in place for a while. This allows for smaller app downloads (in theory).
  • iOS will temporarily delete and restore your apps if you don’t have enough space to update the OS to a new version.
  • Auto deletetion of on-device downloads from Apple Music if you haven’t played them in a while.
  • Optimize iPhone Storage for iCloud Photo Library so you aren’t storing full size pictures on-device.
  • Decreased monthly pricing for iCloud storage tiers ($.99 for 50GB, $2.99 for 200GB, $9.99 for 2TB).
  • In iOS 11, you can have the OS Offload Apps (but not their data) if you haven’t used them in a while.
  • The new App Store in iOS 11 doesn’t display download sizes for app updates inline with update notes anymore. Also, when downloading a new app, the download size is no longer at the top of the page (you have to scroll down a bit).

These actions indicate to me an end-game for Apple. Eventually, they don’t want customers to worry about local storage. At the same time, they are well aware of this setup when it comes to model pricing. The iPhone 7S/8 may be the onset of this change.

Apple’s work in this area definitely benefitted the 16GB generation, but larger capacities can reap the benefits as well.

So in my Scenario 2, where the 256 GB 7S and 7S Plus cost $849 and $969 respectively, the base model 64 GB OLED iPhone would have to cost at least $999, and I think more likely $1099, and the 256 GB model would cost at least $1099 or $1199.

But if Apple expects severe supply constraints on these iPhones, I think prices of $1199 (64 GB) and $1299 (256 GB) are more likely. I honestly don’t think something like $1249/1399 is out of the question.

Sounds about right. There definitely is a market amongst the Apple diehards (including yours truly) and professionals that wouldn’t bat an eye at a $200-$300 premium for the best phone on earth with tangible benefits. I mean, it’s not like Apple’s taking an Android phone and just slapping gaudy crap on it. Plus, if you get it with Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program, it means you’re only forking out around $20-30 more a month.

The prices for these iPhones need to be high enough so that tens of millions of people still want to buy the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus. If the “iPhone Pro” or “iPhone Edition” or whatever it is that Apple is going to call this phone starts at $800 or even $900, who is going to buy an iPhone 7S or 7S Plus? Not enough people, that’s who. Apple needs tens of millions of people to buy the 7S and 7S Plus because they aren’t going to be able to produce the “Pro/Edition” model in sufficient quantity.

Makes a whole lot of sense. 90% of normal users will continue with the good old fashioned iPhone line (7 and 7S) and be perfectly happy with the second best phone on earth.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Kuo and Gurman: No Touch ID for ‘iPhone 8’ →

Until now, nobody has been able to agree where the Touch ID fingerprint sensor will be on the highly-anticipated ‘iPhone 8’. The popular opinions were either under the screen, on the back of the phone (ugh), or integrated with the power button.

It turns out these may all be wrong, as Ming-Chi Kuo and Mark Gurman reported today the iPhone 8 won’t have Touch ID at all.

Ming-Chi Kuo, KGI Securities, published an investor note saying:

As the OLED iPhone will not support fingerprint recognition, we think it may have to rely on facial recognition to ensure security. As such, we believe Apple (US) will be very demanding as regards the quality of 3D sensing, thereby increasing the difficulties in hardware production and software design.

iPhone 8 is rumored to have 3D depth-sensing cameras on its face to handle the said facial recognition.

Mark Gurman then confirmed the report:

The sensor’s speed and accuracy are focal points of the feature. It can scan a user’s face and unlock the iPhone within a few hundred milliseconds, the person said. It is designed to work even if the device is laying flat on a table, rather than just close up to the face. The feature is still being tested and may not appear with the new device. However, the intent is for it to replace the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, according to the person.

Thoughts

  • I will really miss Touch ID if it does go away. It’s so natural and easy.
  • That said, I might not miss it so much if the badass edge-to-edge screen is real. The mockups online look fantastic.
  • Facial recognition would allow for ambient security. Think about it—the screen turns on when you raise the phone and it’s instantly unlocked. No additional intervention required. Slightly different than Touch ID, which still required specific interaction to unlock.
  • If the facial recognition is real, I bet it’s built on top of ARKit, with some special Apple code. Hashed facial data can still be stored in the secure enclave, but that would probably mean the enclave and 3D cameras are hardware paired, making Apple the only one that could replace the camera (just like Touch ID sensors).
  • If it really works while the device is laying on a desk and at an angle, it sounds a lot like the document scanning feature built into the iOS 11 Notes app. The document scanning can capture paper documents at odd angles with lightning speed. This is indeed accomplished via ARKit.
  • If anyone can get facial recognition right, it’s Apple. Other implementations I’ve used suck. They’re slow and detrimental to gaining access to your content/data.
  • How will the phone unlock if there is no light? Maybe an infrared LED on top of the screen? Or maybe enough light is generated by the screen upon waking?

It seems like we’re in for an iPhone shakeup. Jury is still out on the name, though. Most people are calling this model the iPhone 8, while there are still most likely an iPhone 7S and 7S Plus in store. iPhone X would be pretty badass and fitting, considering the tenth anniversary.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The iPhone 8's 'home button'

There could be major changes coming to the iPhone this year, and one of them centers around the home button and Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

The latest rumors and leaks indicate that the Touch ID sensor will either be under the screen or on the back of the iPhone 8. Apple may be having trouble perfecting the Touch ID under the screen technology, which would be the reason we are hearing of the two possibilities. Either way, I haven’t seen too much discussion on the actual implications this brings to the home button’s functionality. Think about it–Touch ID has been married to the home button ever since its introduction with the iPhone 5s. With talk of the sensor relocating due to the borderless screen, what happens to the home button?

Android solves the home button problem with a soft button taking up a small amount of screen real estate. I just don’t see Apple going down that route. Multiple Android-based phones also have the fingerprint sensor on the back, which is a bad experience if you use your phone while it’s resting on a desk. I think Apple would only do this if they absolutely could not get the Touch ID sensor to function perfectly under the screen.

Apple shows a little bit of their hand at a time. They showed their affinity for high pixel density screens with the Retina screen on the iPhone 4. Gradually, the Retina screen made it to all their products. You can see this same pattern with things like Touch ID going from iPhone to iPad to MacBook Pro. Force Touch began on Apple Watch and a similar technology made its way to iPhone (in the form of 3D Touch). I think 3D Touch is the real ace up their sleeves when it comes to the home button.

Here’s how I think the Touch ID and the new “home button” could work…

Read on