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iPhone 7 Could Have Touch-Sensitive Home Button as Waterproof and Dustproof Rumors Persist

Less than five months before Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, supply chain rumors continue to suggest that the next-generation smartphones will be both fully waterproof and dustproof.

Apple is also reportedly testing a touch-sensitive home button for its upcoming flagship handset, possibly meaning the iPhone 7 could have a flush home button, according to Taiwanese website DigiTimes (via I4U News).

iphone7mockupantennabands
iPhone 7 mockup with a traditional home button

DigiTimes has a mixed track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans, but at least three previous reports have claimed the iPhone 7 will be waterproof over the past seven months, and dustproofing would be inherently plausible. Comparatively, the iPhone 6s is surprisingly water resistant, but not entirely waterproof.

In September, a source on Chinese microblogging service Weibo said the iPhone 7 will have a strengthened, waterproof frame, backed up by a Fast Company report that also claimed the device will be thinner than the iPhone 6s. Rumors suggest the iPhone 7 could be as thin as 6.1mm like the iPod touch.

Rumors surrounding the home button on future iPhones are less consistent. Back in June 2015, a report claimed that Apple was looking to develop new display technology with "integrated fingerprint sensors," potentially allowing for the company to eventually do away with the iconic home button on iPhones.

Liquidmetal-Home
Last month, Apple was granted a patent for a pressure-sensitive Liquidmetal home button that deforms slightly when pressed, but returns to its normal shape when the user removes their finger or thumb. Apple has annually renewed its exclusive rights to use the malleable alloy since 2010, but has yet to do so in a major way.

Last week, Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz speculated that Apple will skip its traditional "S" upgrade cycle next year and introduce the iPhone 8 without a physical home button. Apple's single-chip solution for touchscreen and display drivers could allow for a Touch ID-enabled screen, eliminating the need for a separate home button.

iPhone 7 and/or iPhone 7 Plus models are also rumored to feature a Smart Connector, dual-lens cameras, no 3.5mm headphone jack, repositioned antenna bands, stereo speakers, wireless charging, and a larger battery, but Apple may hold off on some features until its next iPhone with OLED in 2017.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
Buyer's Guide: iPhone 8 (Neutral)


Top Rated Comments

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24 months ago
I like the physical home button, I've never been a fan of those capacitive buttons on android phones.
Rating: 21 Votes
24 months ago
This news is irrelevant unless corroborated by the great analyst Ming Chi-Kuo. Then, and only then, will I believe it.
Rating: 19 Votes
24 months ago

Stale and predictable... or iconic? There's a reason that car manufacturers have kept the same grille design for decades. Can you imagine a BMW without the kidneys?

But car analogies don't work with phones. You hold a phone and overall footprint matters. Getting rid of the top and bottom overall wasted space will make a much smaller and compact device. Apple needs to do something to stay up to date and iPhones are starting to look dated. Bezels galore.
Rating: 9 Votes
24 months ago



iPhone 7 and/or iPhone 7 Plus models are also rumored to feature a Smart Connector ('//www.macrumors.com/2016/04/13/iphone-7-smart-connector-no-stereo-speaker/'), dual-lens cameras ('//www.macrumors.com/2016/04/04/dual-cameras-exclusive-to-iphone-7-plus-kgi/'), no 3.5mm headphone jack ('//www.macrumors.com/2015/11/27/iphone-7-no-3-5mm-headphone-jack-lightning/'), repositioned antenna bands ('//www.macrumors.com/2016/02/02/iphone-7-flush-camera-no-bands/'), stereo speakers ('//www.macrumors.com/2016/02/19/suppliers-prepare-iphone-7-production/'), wireless charging ('//www.macrumors.com/2016/01/07/iphone-7-thinner-waterproof-no-headphone-jack/'), and a larger battery ('//www.macrumors.com/2016/03/18/iphone-7-alleged-battery-images/'),.


All of that and the removal of the home button to decrease the overall size of the device is a winner in my book, but it looks like I'll be keeping my 6 until the iPhone 8 comes out.
Rating: 8 Votes
24 months ago
For a huge, cash-rich company, Apple seems to be doing very little in terms of innovation, design, and maximising the potential and delivery of its products, or it is doing a heck of a lot behind the scenes.

Has Apple become a lazy, rudderless, commonplace producer of lamely fashionable tat, or is it going to surprise us with a move that will let it and technology take a giant leap forwards?

All this parsimonious mediocrity is so underwhelming.
Rating: 6 Votes
24 months ago

They're making a car, dude. Chill.

True. But the problem there is that a car will take them into niche territory: fewer people can afford to buy cars, the buyers tend to be older, and the market is heavily fragmented.

Apple's strength in connecting with people came through the iPod: relatively cheap, accessible to people across the social and financial board, and great at hooking the younger generation into the Apple family.

By all means, make a car (or make something better than what we think of as a car today), but such a product risks diluting Apple's appeal and losing it the groundswell of support that it enjoys today with people across the planet.

Increasingly finding that people are falling out of love with Apple: messy product lines, glib designs and accessories, and underwhelming miserly products. No longer cutting edge and desirable, but achingly dull and fashionably risible.
Rating: 5 Votes
24 months ago

Increasingly finding that people are falling out of love with Apple: messy product lines, glib designs and accessories, and underwhelming miserly products. No longer cutting edge and desirable, but achingly dull and fashionably risible.


I'm finding this to be the case on tech blogs (from insightful and tech-savvy people like yourself) and maybe in the investor community, but not with people who actually use their products on a regular basis. These people, for some crazy reason, still love Apple.
Rating: 5 Votes
24 months ago
My cat "could have" wings, but she doesn't. The physical, concave home button is a cornerstone of the iPhone design and is easy to locate quickly. That IS NOT going away, Apple are not that stupid (even if YOU are) please stop spreading myths.
Rating: 5 Votes
24 months ago

Sarcasm aside, I will believe it when Mark Gurman confirms it.

I typically wait for Tim or Phil, personally...
Rating: 4 Votes
24 months ago

No no no. I don't think I will be ok with an iPhone that doesn't have a physical home button.


You don't have it on the MacBook but it feels identical to the physical one. I'm sure Apple will do the same stuff on the iPhone if they're gonna remove the physical button.
Rating: 4 Votes

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