Apple is said to be working on a design that will usher in the biggest change since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007. According to Digitimes, Apple is working on a way to integrate the fingerprint sensor into the handset’s display, thereby eliminating the need for a home button.
The report says,
Apple is internally developing touch and display driver integration (TDDI) single-chip solutions for its iPhones, according to sources in Taiwan’s IC design industry.
The TDDI single-chip solutions will also come with integrated fingerprint sensors, said the sources. The integrated design would fit into future iPhone designs – models with ultra-thin and ultra-narrow displays, and with a whole plane design eliminating the Home button.
While the concept of an iPhone with a touch-enabled home button has been rumored for quite a while, this is the surest sign that Apple is indeed working towards this possibility. The publication however says that it is highly unlikely to feature on the forthcoming iPhone 6S, and could take a couple of years.
A lot can change between now and then, including the effort being scrapped entirely. But it is clear why Apple might be looking at doing away with the home button. With only the display up front, Apple will be able to increase the size of the screen without increasing the overall footprint, and further reduce the bezels.
Apple is already believed to be working on bringing Force Touch to iPhones as early as this year. From what we have heard so far, unlike the MacBook or the Apple Watch, Force Touch input on the forthcoming iPhones will only detect how much of the user’s finger is in contact with the screen. This will help it distinguish if it is a long press or just a light tap. While current iPhones have some awareness of this tap radius, the new technology will be able to accurately determine the contact area.