updated 12:00 am EST, Thu January 13, 2011
iPad 2 and iPhone 5 may scrap home button
Apple's introduction of four- and five-finger gestures in iOS 4.3 may have presaged a decision to scrap the home button from the next-generation iPad and iPhone. A rumor Wednesday night claimed staff were already testing versions of both where, once awake, the device would need to use the four or five finger pinch and swipe motions exclusively for the home screen and task switcher. The BGR relay didn't know for certain if it would reach the iPad and iPhone updates this year but said it was a possibility.
Along with the interface change, Apple is claimed to be developing more iOS parallels to Mac apps. iMovie may be joined by more iLife titles, although which wasn't mentioned. Photo Booth was supposedly more certain and would reach at least the new iPad and its widely mentioned dual cameras. Apple would most likely charge extra for the iLife apps through the App Store but could give Photo Booth away for free.
Dropping the home button could be controversial and would drop one of the most iconic elements of iOS device design. However, it would parallel a similar move by Google. Android 3.0 devices such as the Motorola Xoom have no front buttons at all and instead rely on the onscreen interface for nearly all aspects. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs reportedly wanted a button-free design at first but would just now be achieving it with iOS 4.3 and matching hardware.