It's speculated that Apple will remove the entire bezel of the display, leaving the iPhone 8 with a true edge-to-edge display, like in mock-ups we've seen before. That, coupled with the technology that allows the integration of a fingerprint scanner below the display provides Apple with everything they'd need to make it a possibility. While this sounds like a cool idea, we're not quite sure that Apple will be in a position to push something that advanced in a years time - but hey, we're happy to be proved wrong!
In mid October 2015, Piper Jaffrey analyst Gene Munster (who is notorious for his Apple Television predictions, which have so far proved to be inaccurate) has suggested that the iPhone 7 won't have a Home button, thanks to the new 3D Touch technology found in the iPhone 6s display.
"3D Touch may provide Apple with a way to eliminate the home button on the phone and use the additional space to make the screen bigger or the device smaller," he said. "One barrier to this could be Touch ID, which is integrated into the home button currently. Apple would need to move the Touch ID reader to potentially the side of the phone to remove the home button."
As we discuss later in this article, an Apple patent has revealed that the company is investigating ways to build the Touch ID sensor into the screen itself, so Munster's theory doesn't seem implausible, but as proven with his Apple television predictions, Munster isn't always right... even he says that the odds of a buttonless iPhone 7 are 50%.
Months on, in June 2016, a leak appeared online which could possibly prove Munster right - well, half right anyway. A leaked photo of the front of the upcoming iPhone 7 was sent to MobiPicker by one of its sources showcasing a touch sensitive 'pad' instead of the physical Home button we all know and love. According to the source, you'll be able to press and hold the pad to access Siri, double tap to access the multitasking menu and of course, hold the pad to unlock the smartphone using Touch ID.
Interestingly, the photo also shows that the top and bottom bezels are slimmer, and both the front facing camera and proximity sensor have been moved - although this doesn't line up with screen protector leak that recently appeared online, so either this is fake or the previous screen protector leak was.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.