While the exterior of the iPhone 7 is rumored to be similar to the iPhone 6s, the Home button may be getting a complete redesign. According to a few sources, the button will be less a button and more of a touchpad. Apple is rumored to use their Force Touch technology to simulate a physical click.
According to Cowen and Company (an analyst company) and 9to5Mac, Apple will be removing the physical mechanism of the Home button and replacing the entire system with a touchpad. To simulate the sensation of the button being pressed, the iPhone will use haptic feedback from Apple’s Force Touch technology. This new button will take out the moving parts of the previous Home buttons, which can break, and it will increase the waterproofness of the phone. When the Home button is currently pressed, a gap is created between the glass and the button as it separates from the display. With the new Home button, there will be no gap created.
An issue that may come up with the new button, as 9to5Mac points out, is that the button can fail since it is not a physical button. Functions like resetting the phone rely on two physical buttons. If the Home button is replaced with a touchpad, Apple will need to use two other buttons to reset the phone.
This rumor matches up with a previously leaked photo (above) that showed the iPhone 7 with a flat touchpad Home button. It also matches up with iOS 10’s mechanism for unlocking the iPhone. The iPhone is now unlocked by “pressing” on the Home button instead of swiping to unlock.
The iPhone 7 is expected to be announced at a special media event in September. It will come in three models (iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 7 Pro), with less antenna bands on the rear shell, a larger front and rear camera, and no headphone jack.