iOS 11 Dock and Gesture Controls to Replace 'iPhone 8' Home Button Entirely

Apple's upcoming "iPhone 8" could rely entirely on gesture controls for carrying out tasks like navigating to the home screen and opening the new multitasking App Switcher in iOS 11, a new report on Wednesday claimed.

Apple has tested the complete removal of the home button – including even a virtual one – in favor of touch-based gestures, according to images of the new OLED iPhone viewed by Bloomberg and seen by people familiar with the company's plans. Those gestures are said to begin by dragging up a "thin bar" from the bottom of the screen to open the device to the home screen, where an app dock resides.

iphone8dummy4

Across the bottom of the screen there's a thin, software bar in lieu of the home button. A user can drag it up to the middle of the screen to open the phone. When inside an app, a similar gesture starts multitasking. From here, users can continue to flick upwards to close the app and go back to the home screen. An animation in testing sucks the app back into its icon. The multitasking interface has been redesigned to appear like a series of standalone cards that can be swiped through, versus the stack of cards on current iPhones, the images show. 

The iPhone dock will appear on the home screen in a similar way to the iPad dock as seen in the iOS 11 beta, but with six rows of up to 24 icons per screen, according to the report.

In addition to the software-based changes, Bloomberg said that the new OLED screen on Apple's "premium" handset is rounded on the corners, whereas current iPhone screens have square corners. The power button on the right side of the phone is also reportedly longer so that it's easier to press while holding the device in one hand, according to images.

Elsewhere, in perhaps a more contentious move, Apple has apparently opted not to hide the notch area at the top of the OLED screen, so a definite cutout area will be visible when using apps with non-black backgrounds.

The cutout is noticeable during app usage in the middle of the very top of the screen, where the status bar (the area that shows cellular reception, the time, and battery life) would normally be placed, according to the images. Instead, the status bar will be split into left and right sides, which some Apple employees call "ears" internally. In images of recent test devices, the left side shows the time while the area on the right side of the notch displays cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity and remaining battery life. Because of limited space, the status bar could change based on the task at hand, according to a person familiar with the testing.

Bloomberg also claims that when the display shows black, the superior color reproduction of the OLED screen ensures that it "blends in perfectly" with the notch and thin edges on the front. The screen is also reportedly flat like previous iPhones, in contrast to the fully curved displays found on Samsung's latest smartphones.


Lastly, the report adds that Apple plans to include a stainless steel band around the phone which the glass curves into. According to images seen by Bloomberg, the steel band "has small antenna cuts on the corners like past iPhones to improve reception".

While Apple often tests different designs of its products, the hardware details covered here will have been finalized long ago, although the software interface could still change before iOS 11 gets its official public release. Apple is expected to debut the redesigned OLED iPhone at a September 12 launch event alongside iterative updates to its current smartphone line-up, as well as a new upgraded Apple TV with 4K support and Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE capability.

Top Rated Comments

Mark B16 Avatar
43 months ago
So the iPhone will basically work the same way as WebOS did originally nearly 9 years ago
WebOs was well ahead of it's time:

Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Menel Avatar
43 months ago
oh jeez, they might be going all in. They are gonna super buzz us up with fancy words at the conference. blah blah after 10 years time for a major paradigm shift in UI etc.

#takeMyMoney
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jacjustjac Avatar
43 months ago
I’m so excited about this, but worried at the same time. Who else can never get Control Center to come up reliably? The phone often seems to confuse it with button input or accidental touches. I have to drag my finger quite high up and slowly/deliberately. I don’t want to have to do that every time I close an app.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BruceEBonus Avatar
43 months ago
Hands up who can remember when Apple championed ergonomics and ease of use over their unnecessarily complicated competition? Let's hope this isn't true. Or it could be one step backwards too far this time. Not everybody is a geek ... people who bought the iphone were anything but. Apple used to pride themselves in being different to their rivals. Now the vision is dissipating and complexity is being introduced to distract from innovation. Or rather... the lack of it.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Twimfy Avatar
43 months ago
I’m really going to struggle with this. For nine years I’ve used the home button to wake my phone, my power button is very rarely used. It’s going to be a hard habit to break.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
The Cappy Avatar
43 months ago
The problem with gestures is that they not intuitive for many people. I use them all the time. But my parents? When they’re baffled by their iOS device, there’s always that one button they can hit. Now, when they’re stuck, the solution will be to swipe a finger up from the bottom. And why are they supposed to think of that? There’s no cue that this is an available action. You have to already know about it.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple briefcase

AppleCare Memo Hints at Potential Hardware Announcement Next Tuesday

Thursday December 3, 2020 9:12 am PST by
Following a busy fall season in which Apple hosted three events in as many months, the company may have one more product announcement in store this year. In an internal memo this week, obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source, Apple informed service providers that it has AppleCare-related changes planned for Tuesday, December 8 at approximately 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time. Specifically, Apple ...
apple top apps games 2020

Apple Shares Top 20 Most Downloaded Games and Apps of 2020

Tuesday December 1, 2020 9:38 pm PST by
Alongside picks for the top iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps and games of the year, Apple today shared charts featuring the Top Games of 2020 and the Top Apps of 2020, revealing the most popular free and paid apps and games during the year. Among Us! was the top free game of 2020, followed by Call of Duty: Mobile, Roblox, and Subway Surfers. Ink Inc. Tattoo Drawing was the number four free app,...
homepod mini amazon echo size

$99 Speaker Showdown: HomePod Mini vs. Amazon Echo and Google Nest Audio

Wednesday December 2, 2020 3:12 pm PST by
Apple recently released the HomePod mini, a new $99 version of the original HomePod that's smaller, cuter, and, most importantly, competitively priced. At $99, the HomePod mini can better compete with affordable smart speakers from companies like Google and Amazon. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The HomePod mini has been praised for its high-quality sound at its...
iphone8guide b

iOS 14.2 Quietly Added FaceTime 1080p Support to iPhone 8 and Later Models

Wednesday December 2, 2020 3:21 am PST by
Back in early November, Apple released iOS 14.2 and announced with it a slew of new features for iPhones, but one thing it didn't mention was the apparent addition of support for 1080p FaceTime calls on iPhone 8 and later devices. The little-known fact was discovered by MacMagazine, which found that Apple quietly updated the specs pages for devices like iPhone XR shortly after the release of ...
16 inch MBP Mini Led

Kuo: Two Redesigned MacBook Pros in 2021 and New MacBook Air in 2022, All With Apple Silicon and Mini-LED Displays

Wednesday December 2, 2020 5:46 am PST by
Apple plans to release two redesigned MacBook Pros in 2021 and a new MacBook Air in 2022, all with mini-LED displays and Apple Silicon chips, according to TFI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a research note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that two new MacBook Pro models equipped with an all-new form factor design are expected to launch in 2021, and a new "affordable"...
iOS 14

Apple Releases Third Betas of iOS 14.3 and iPadOS 14.3 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday December 2, 2020 10:04 am PST by
Apple today seeded the third betas of upcoming iOS 14.3 and iPadOS 14.3 updates to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after releasing the second betas and a month after the launch of iOS and iPadOS 14.2. iOS and iPadOS 14.3 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper developer profile has been installed. The iOS 14.3 update brings the...
best apps of 2020

Wakeout! Named Apple's Best App of 2020, While Zoom Earns the Title for Best iPad App

Tuesday December 1, 2020 9:26 pm PST by
Apple today shared its App Store Best of 2020 winners, highlighting its picks for the top iOS, iPadOS, and macOS apps and games released over the course of the year. Apple's iPhone App of the Year award went to Wakeout!, which is a family friendly exercise and movement app that encourages people to complete easy exercises while at home. Apple's iPad App of the Year was Zoom, which soared in...
wristcam design

$299 'Wristcam' Adds a Pair of Cameras to Your Apple Watch

Thursday December 3, 2020 9:32 am PST by
The Apple Watch has never included a camera, likely due to battery life and space concerns. A new Apple Watch product aims to address that lack by introducing a wrist-worn camera that works with the Apple Watch. The Apple-certified Wristcam attaches to the Apple Watch in the form of a band that adds a rather large camera set to the top of the Apple Watch. It's quite thick and bulky, but can...
iphone 12 5g

Multiple iPhone 12 Users Report Sudden Drops in 5G and LTE Cellular Coverage

Thursday December 3, 2020 1:18 am PST by
Since Apple launched the iPhone 12 in October, an increasing number of users of the new smartphone have been reporting persistent drops in cellular coverage. Multiple reports of dropped 5G and LTE connectivity have appeared on Reddit, on Apple's support forums, and on the MacRumors forums, with many people suffering issues when walking or in transit and some seeing the same problem when...
magsafe duo charger

MagSafe Duo Charger for iPhone 12 and Apple Watch Now Available for Purchase

Tuesday December 1, 2020 4:15 pm PST by
Apple today began selling the MagSafe Duo Charger that was announced alongside the new iPhone 12 models back in October. Priced at $129, the MagSafe Duo offers a MagSafe charging puck for the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, and 12 mini, along with an Apple Watch charger. Though the accessory was announced in October and was listed as coming soon, it was not clear when it would launch. Orders...