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Rumor: No home button for iPad 2 and next iPhone?

An anonymous Apple source told the Boy Genius Report that iPad 2 and next-generation iPhone would lose their home buttons in favor of gesture-based commands that would be part of iOS 4.3.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
2 min read

Will we soon be saying goodbye to the physical buttons on the iPad and iPhone? Boy Genius Report

Rumor has it that Steve Jobs didn't want any physical buttons on the original iPad. And, as we know, Steve Jobs tends to get what he wants--eventually anyway.

Which brings us to the latest Apple rumor. This one's courtesy of the Boy Genius Report, which got tipped off that the iPad 2, widely expected to be released in April, will lose its home button in favor of multitouch gestures that are already being incorporated into Apple's upcoming iOS 4.3 update.

The anonymous source told BGR that, "Apple, at some point in time, will remove the home button from the iPad's design. Instead of button taps, you will use new multitouch gestures to navigate to the home screen and also to launch the app switcher." The source also went on to note that this change will eventually make its way over to the iPhone and that Apple employees were already testing iPads and iPhones with no home buttons on the Apple campus, and it was possible we'd see this new change materialize in Apple devices set to launch this year.

Additionally, the tipster said Photo Booth, Apple's photo-taking application that ships with all Macs, would be available for the next iPad, which would mean (if you believe the rumor) that the new iPad would have a built-in camera. And finally, iLife apps for iOS might be unveiled as part of the iPad 2's release.

As we do with all Apple rumors, we remind folks this is pure speculation until proven otherwise. While I personally like the home button, any time you can do away with moving parts it tends to be a good idea from a durability perspective. Over the years, a lot of folks have complained to Apple (I've witnessed it at a Genius Bar) that their home button wasn't responding properly and I imagine ditching that button would help cut down on a certain percentage of customer service problems.

However, you can't help but wonder whether deleting the home button is a good idea from a user experience standpoint. What do you guys think?

More: iPhone 5's 20 most-wanted features (no, we didn't ask for Apple to remove the home button)