Sketchy Rumor Claims Sapphire-Covered Capacitive Home Button for iPhone 5S

Cult of Mac points to a report [Google translation] from Taiwanese site TechNews claiming that Apple will be including a sapphire-covered capacitive home button on the iPhone 5S in order to accommodate the fingerprint sensor rumored to be coming as a differentiating feature for the device.

Apple is expected to do away with the traditional physical home button, which has long been one of the most unreliable components on iOS devices. It’s thought that using sapphire crystal, which has a hardness second only to diamond, will prevent the button from getting scratched and ruining the fingerprint sensor. [...]

They insist Apple will employ a capacitive touch home button for the first time with the iPhone 5S, eliminating one of the most unreliable components in an iOS device (the physical home button has a tendency to fail after long periods of use).

TechNews has not, however, been a regular source of Apple rumors, and thus it is difficult to place much faith in this rumor. Rumors of a capacitive home button to replace the physical button that has been a staple of iOS devices since the launch of the original iPhone in 2007 have circulated for several years, but have never gained serious traction.

iphone_sapphire_camera_button
Reports of a fingerprint sensor for the iPhone 5S have been gaining steam following Apple's acquisition of mobile security firm AuthenTec last year, with high-profile Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo repeatedly predicting that the device will include such a feature "under" the home button, although details on exactly how it will be incorporated into the device remain unknown.

Sapphire crystal as a scratch-resistant covering has also been a popular topic of conversation since Apple began using the material for the rear camera on the iPhone 5 and fifth-generation iPod touch last year. Earlier this year, we noted that the material may someday replace glass as the protective layer for mobile device displays, although it will take some time before costs become reasonable for such an expansive use of sapphire.

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

Drunken Master Avatar
107 months ago
Who are these gorilla hands that ruin their home buttons anyway?
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BMcCoy Avatar
107 months ago
I've not had a home button fail, but clearly lots of people have.

Plus, yes, integrating a fingerprint sensor probably does require a design material change. As far as we know.

...so this could be entirely true. Yup... liking this.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Saladinos Avatar
107 months ago
I've never like capacitive buttons on any device I've used - going back to the original Playstation 2 all the way to today's latest Android phones.

I think they just can't be done right. Not one of them has the very-well-tuned tactile satisfaction of the Home button. It's one of the nicest feeling buttons I've used.

And yes, when you're designing physical objects, tactile response is an important part of the emotional component of design. Just have a look at Knob-Feel! http://knobfeel.tumblr.com
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
quagmire Avatar
107 months ago
Who are these gorilla hands that ruin their home buttons anyway?

It's not necessarily the users fault. With the iPhone 4 design, dust got behind the button easily which decreased it's functionality. I know for me, I had to click 3-4 times to get the fast app switching drawer to pop up( when it should take 2) on my old 4. Or I had to click twice to go to the home screen.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DanTheAppleMan Avatar
107 months ago
When I hold my iPhone in one hand my thumb rests on the home button.
Hopefully their USP won't be "I don't have to change myself to fit the product, it fits me..."
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Virtual Steve Avatar
107 months ago


Now this ^ I would actually stand on line for :D
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iOS 14 on iPhone feature emergency

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 With Fix for Touch ID Apple Watch Bug

Monday July 26, 2021 9:48 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1, minor bug fix updates that come just a week after the release of iOS 14.7, software that introduced new Apple Card features and support for the MagSafe Battery Pack. The iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to...
iPad mini pro feature 2

iPad Mini 6 to Feature 8.3-Inch Display With No Home Button and Narrower Bezels

Monday July 26, 2021 12:26 pm PDT by
The sixth-generation iPad mini that's in the works will have an 8.3-inch display, according to display analyst Ross Young. That will be larger than the current 7.9-inch display, with the larger size due to the removal of the Home button and a narrower bezel design. Rumors about the iPad mini 6 have been picking up in recent weeks ahead of its prospective launch this fall. Apple analyst...
iphone 12 pro gold

Report: iPhone 14 Pro Models to Feature Tough Titanium Alloy Chassis

Monday July 26, 2021 1:12 am PDT by
Next year's "iPhone 14" series is expected to feature high-end models with a new titanium alloy chassis design, claims a new investors report by JP Morgan Chase. According to the report, the use of titanium alloy will be one of the biggest changes to the case design in the 2022 iPhone series, and Foxconn will be the exclusive manufacturer of the titanium frames for the high-end models....
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...
apple mac business page

Apple Shares 11 Reasons Why Business Users Should Choose Macs

Monday July 26, 2021 11:35 am PDT by
Apple today updated its Apple at Work website with a new section dedicated to the Mac, which offers up 11 reasons why "Mac means business." On the webpage, Apple highlights the M1 chip as the number one reason why business users should choose a Mac, offering up an M1 overview [PDF] that explains the benefits of the M1 chip. The information isn't new, but it does provide a look at all of...
imac with accessories

Larger Redesigned High-End iMac Rumored to Launch Next Year

Monday July 26, 2021 3:45 am PDT by
Apple's larger redesigned iMac will arrive sometime in 2022 rather than later this year, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." On Twitter, Dylandkt claimed that Apple's "high end iMac" is not expected to release in the fourth quarter of 2021 alongside Apple's "M1X Macs" – a reference to Apple's redesigned MacBook Pro models – because "Apple simply does not want their devices to...
General iOS 14

iOS 14.7.1 and macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 Patch Security Vulnerability That May Have Been Actively Exploited

Monday July 26, 2021 11:55 am PDT by
Apple today released unexpected iOS 14.7.1 and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates to the public, and according to a newly released support document, the software addresses a serious security vulnerability that may have been exploited in the wild. Apple says that an application may have been able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges due to a memory corruption issue. "Apple is aware of a report ...
apple bitcoin hack

Is Apple Really Buying Bitcoin?

Monday July 26, 2021 3:07 am PDT by
A large number of websites and posts on social media are stoking rumors that Apple has purchased $2.5 billion worth of bitcoin in the company's first move into cryptocurrency, but is there any validity to the claims? Many people are citing the fact that Apple was looking for a Business Development Manager with experience in alternative payments, including cryptocurrency, earlier this year as ...
tesla red orange bg feature

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Takes Shots at Apple During Earnings Call

Monday July 26, 2021 4:53 pm PDT by
During a Tesla earnings call that took place today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk spent time sniping at Apple, reports CNBC. Musk criticized Apple's "walled garden" and made comments on the company's cobalt use. In a discussion about plans to allow Tesla competitors to use the Tesla electric vehicle charger network, Musk said that Tesla does not want to create a walled garden to "bludgeon" Tesla...
FaceID iMac REREREREMIX

Gurman: Face ID on the Mac Coming Within a 'Couple of Years'

Sunday July 25, 2021 7:09 am PDT by
Apple plans to bring Face ID to the Mac within the next "couple of years," respected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman said today in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter. In the newsletter, Gurman says that he believes Apple's ultimate goal is to shift all of its products to Face ID, including the lower-end iPhones such as the iPhone SE and the iPad Air, which feature Touch ID....