Apple is planning to change the design of its next iPhone. It has been rumoured that the next iPhone model, iPhone 7, may not have a physical home button.
The addition of 3D Touch technology 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 make the device smaller. Eliminating the home button would allow Apple to cut out part of the bezels to make the iPhone's screen larger while keeping the design relatively small and thin.
Apple's fingerprint reader, which is used to unlock the iPhone and authenticate purchases with Apple Pay, currently resides in the home button. Apple could move the TouchID sensor to the side of the phone. Apple has also filed a patent application that describes a system in which a fingerprint sensor could be embedded in the screen itself.
Piper Jaffray’s analyst, Gene Munster, wrote in a recent note that Apple may do away with the Home button, increase the screen size, improve the battery life, and finally switch to sapphire for the screen. He also wrote “As many have speculated, the addition of 3D Touch may provide Apple with a way to eliminate the home button on the phone.” Munster added that a home-buttonless iPhone has a 50 percent chance for the iPhone 7.
Digitimes, a Taiwan-based publication reported in June that Apple is making an iPhone with a home button built into the iPhone's screen. Apple Insider reported the same citing its own sources, but also said an iPhone without a home button wouldn't launch before 2017.