Will it be behind the screen as teased by Samsung or would it be somewhere different? The latest patent
PatentlyApple.com, the home of the latest Apple Inc. patents, have released the latest batch of approved Apple patents. Once jumps out at the avid Apple fan. One that has big ramifications for the home button. It might be leaving an iPhone near you. New patents released by Apple have the biometric sensor on the on/off push button.
This doesn’t mean it could happen, but the Apple rumour mill is in full swing. According to Tech Radar, the move could see the relocation built into the device’s screen – turning the Cornings Gorilla glass screen into the unlock button. This new patent puts those rumours to rest. The new power button fingerprint scanner is a bit of a game changer.
What does this mean?
The removal of the home button increased the screen size capabilities as the decreased bezel helps to improve screen display space. This means a bigger screen could become the norm as the ‘home button’ is retired. However, as biometrics have become common place the positioning is anything but common place with different manufacturers placing sensors in different places. Google tried the rear handset area, Apple and Samsung the home button, HTC have tried the rear and home button whilst LG are evaluating the side slider approach. These different places mean that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach hasn’t grabbed the public’s imagination yet.
Wait a minute, didn’t Sony try this? They did indeed. The Sony Xperia Z5 had a power button fingerprint scanner. However, there were technical issues and negative reviews did see the feature dropped. But Sony has continued with the placement on subsequent models. The reasoning behind this was simple; the connection between the device’s power on button was meant to signify the importance of the fingerprint scanner and its nexus with the device’s security. This theoretical explanation aside, the phone didn’t sell well. However, that might be down to other reasons.
What are Apple’s plans?
There is broad consensus that the ‘home’ button has had its day. Samsung in the next S9 model is looking at rear-facing fingerprint sensors. HTC is also looking at this. Therefore, to improve screen size and positioning, the retirement of the ‘home’ button was always going to happen. The removal of the button means biometric security will need to be replaced as the scanner needs to be placed somewhere else on the device handset. Therefore, Apple’s power button concept isn’t ground-breaking. It is the next evolutionary step in handset design principles.
This will mean a change in the design symmetry of the Apple iPhone. The ‘home’ button is a central design placement within the historic line-up of Apple devices. Its removal will be a big design change. The movement of the fingerprint scanner is a by-product of this design sea-change. However, we still don’t know what Apple is doing. Fans will have to wait until September when the next Apple iPhone launch event occurs.