It was reported in June that Apple were working towards producing an iPhone without the iconic home button. Currently the home button plays host to the popular Touch ID fingerprint sensor and finding a suitable alternative location seemed to be the potential headache to removing the only button on the front of the device. Security technology firm Sonavation have announced new technology which allows for the embedding of a fingerprint sensor directly into a touchscreen which would massively simplify the task for Apple and any other manufacturers who plan to go down this route.
While the home button is a big part of the iPhone design a button-free model would mean less lip at the bottom of the phone and with many Android devices ditching their hardware keys it’s already been proven that with the right on-screen inputs a lack of buttons isn’t a problem at all. The Touch ID Sensor is not only a very popular feature but also plays a part in the Apple Pay system which recently launched in the UK so losing fingerprint recognition is not an option for Apple.
A fingerprint sensor embedded in the screen seems the better option even without removing the button as you can touch the screen, unlock the phone and start using it without having to move from the button to the screen. Sonavation say their 3D scanning technology is accurate even with a moist, oily or dirty finger. The technology works with Gorilla Glass although it’s unknown whether it would work with sapphire which it seems Apple want to move towards.
Other phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 currently use a similar setup to the iPhone with the fingerprint sensor residing in a physical button below the screen and could potentially also benefit from this new technology. While Android copes fine without any hardware buttons iOS currently uses the home button for a number of commands although a combination of Force Touch, new interface elements and multi-finger guestures could solve this issue. This isn’t the sort of change we’d expect too soon but in a couple of years we could see the first button-less iPhones.
Via: Apple Insider