A few years ago, there was a sketchy rumor claiming that Apple was developing an iPhone without a home button. Earlier this week, that rumor resurfaced in the form of a Digitimes report which claims that Apple is working to develop an integrated chip+fingerprint sensor solution that would obviate the need for a physical home button.
"The TDDI single-chip solutions will also come with integrated fingerprint sensors," the report notes. "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."
Though Digitimes has a spotty track record with respect to Apple Rumors, we first heard word of a revamped home button via analyst Ming Chi-Kuo, who has an impeccable track record with respect to Apple rumors.
Following Digitimes' report, AppleInsider chimed in with a report of their own, relaying via their own trusted source that while Apple is indeed looking to remove the physical home button from future iPhone models, such a drastic change isn't expected to take effect for at least the next two years.
AppleInsider's own source reaffirmed that information, indicating that the company would like to remove the physical home button, but also suggesting that doing so presents technical challenges for the company. It's likely that finding a way to seamlessly integrate Touch ID into the iPhone's display remains a stumbling block for Apple, whether in terms of cost or just the limitations of currently available technology.
Given the inherent utility of the home button, it's somewhat mind boggling that Apple would potentially opt to do away with it altogether. It's such an integral part of the iPhone user experience that it seems bizarre that Apple would try and eliminate it with a virtual replacement solely in the name of thinness. Indeed, consumer surveys have indicated time and and time again that most iPhone users would prefer Apple focus on battery life as opposed to shaving incremental millimeters off of the iPhone's profile.