Apple Inc. plans to transform the way people use its next high-end iPhone by eliminating the concept of a home button and building other adjustments to a flagship device that’s becoming almost all screen, according to images of the new machine viewed by Bloomberg News and people familiar with the contraption.
The home button is the key to the iPhone and the design hasn’t changed much because it launched in 2007. Currently, consumers click it to return to the starting app grid that greets them multiple times a day. They hold it down to talk to the Siri digital deputy. Double click it and you get multitasking where different apps screens is also possible swiped through like a carousel.
Apple is preparing three new iPhones for debut next month. One of the models, a new high-end device, packs in enough changes to make it one of the biggest iPhone updates in the product’s decade-long history. With a crisper screen that takes up virtually the entire front, Apple has tested the complete removal of the home button–even a digital one–in favor of new gesture controls for tasks like going to the main app grid and opening multitasking, according to the people and the images.