Richi Jennings

Rumor: iPad 2 and iPhone 5 "have no Home button"

January 13, 2011 5:56 AM EST

Apple leakage: neither iPad 2 nor iPhone 5 will have a physical Home button. Steve Jobs' new iOS 4.3 forces you to use five-finger gestures. Can anyone see a problem with this?

iPad and iPhone (Apple)By Richi Jennings. January 13, 2011.

Today's Apple rumor scuttlebutt is that the Home button will be deleted from the iPad 2 and iPhone 5. Instead, users will employ the new iOS 4.3 five-fingered gestures, so we're told by a "source". In IT Blogwatch, bloggers aren't entirely sure that'll work.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention Best of the Email...
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It's Jonathan S. Geller and his Apple sauce again:
We just got some pretty wild information ... while it’s hard to believe at first, it does make sense. ... The iPad will be losing the home button. ... Instead of button taps, you will use new multitouch gestures to navigate to the home screen and ... launch the app switcher.
...
We’re told that this change will make its way over to the iPhone as well. ... Apple employees are already testing iPads and iPhones with no home buttons on the Apple campus. ... Steve Jobs didn’t want any physical buttons on the original iPhone ... it looks like he may soon get his wish.M0RE
 
Rosa Golijan explains the new gestures in iOS 4.3:
Each of the new gestures can be done with either four or five fingers. ... A pinch brings you to the Home Screen, a swipe up or down reveals and hides the multitasking bar, and swipes left or right allow you to switch between apps.
 
All the gestures feel natural ... and at no point during my testing did I feel like I would accidentally trigger one.M0RE

Brad McCarty likes the idea:
It could very well happen. For those of us who know and love our Apple gestures, it wouldn’t be a very big change. And of course there’s the added feature of increased screen real estate. ... You’re effectively adding an inch to the trailing edge ... that opens up a whole bunch of extra pixel space.
...
We’ll have to wait and see. As best as we can figure, the iPad 2 will be announced in March.M0RE

But John Gruber dares to disagree:
I think not. ... There’s a serious discoverability problem with [the gestures]. ... That it is the one and only button on the faces of these devices is a big part of why normal people are able to pick them up ... and figure out how to get around. ... How in the world would a normal person ... guess that they need to do a “five-finger pinch” to get back to the home screen?
...
For any command you expect normal people to actually find and use, there needs to be a visual way to find it. ... The same goes for double-tapping the Home button to bring up the switching tray. Most people don’t ... need to ... know about that. ... They just tap once and switch ... using the regular Home screen.M0RE

Federico Viticci agrees:
I don’t think the Home button is going away anytime soon; it is a fundamental aspect of an iOS device that can’t simply be replaced by a gesture. ... they’re useful and cool, but they’re not meant for the average user. ... Sure, anyone can do a little digging into the Preferences and find out about gestures — but does the normal user do that?
...
]But] I do believe there are some iPads and iPhones with no Home button going around between employees. ... And I do think Steve Jobs and Ive have been experimenting with these ideas for years.M0RE

And Seth Weintraub considers other aspects:
How do you do a hard reset without a home button? ... What about people without all of their fingers? ... The physical home button is still functioning when the touch ... interface crashes.
...
There are too many reasons to need a home button for us to believe this. Maybe the home button moves to the bottom?M0RE

Really, Yoni Heisler, are you seriously implying that Apple PR deliberately seeds these rumors?
And just as one Apple rumor comes to an end ... (the iPhone hitting Verizon) another one begins.M0RE
 
And Finally...
Best of the Email: Too Many Tests, The Great Lamp Caper, and More
 
 
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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher   Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com.
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