Apple iPhone Home Button Is Evolving

Posted by Kirhat | Friday, May 22, 2015 | | 0 comments »

iPhone Button
It has evolved into a very important part of the iPhone, but the home button is being developed not only as an option when you want to exit an app. It is also a fingerprint sensor in newer iPhones that lets users unlock phones and verify their identities.

Now, a recently published Apple patent application provides more evidence that the home button probably isn't going away anytime soon.

The patent application, published on on 14 May 2015, describes a system in which users could use the iPhone's fingerprint sensor to actually navigate their phones.

Apple highlights a few specific-use cases in the images included with the document. The idea is to expand the functionality of the home button by incorporating Touch ID into other use cases beyond verification and unlocking your phone.

For example, pressing down or holding the home button could launch the search function from the home screen. And, at the same time, the fingerprint sensor in the home button could be incorporated into games.

Imagine playing a game that requires the user to aim. Instead of pressing and dragging on the screen, they could rotate their thumb on the home button to adjust their aim, in turn preventing their fingers from obscuring what they're looking at on their screen.

Apple also mentions the idea of locking the iPhone into either portrait or landscape mode depending on which way the fingerprint is facing.

On the iPhone, users can currently hold down the home button to activate Siri, double press it to see which apps are open on their phone, press the home button to return to the home screen, or hold their finger over it to authenticate iTunes purchases. Apple has clearly already expanded the home button's functionality beyond its basic purpose, but the new patent application describes technology that would be able to read the intricate movements of the finger — not just how hard the user is pressing.

It's just a patent application, which means it's not guaranteed to ever become part of Apple's products. Still, it comes at a time when Apple has been experimenting with new ways to interact with gadgets.

The Apple Watch and new MacBook both come with a technology Apple calls Force Touch that can tell how hard the user is pressing rather than just where they're pressing. On the Apple Watch, this tech is integrated into the screen and on the new MacBook it lives in the trackpad.

That being said, Apple has patented all kinds of eccentric ideas pertaining to the iPhone's home button that probably won't become a reality. Earlier this year, an Apple patent described a home button that could pop out like a joystick to be used with mobile games.


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