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iPad 3 to lose home button?

The invite to the iPad 3 announcement next week hints that Apple's nixed the home button from the device.

The invite to Apple's iPad 3 announcement landed on our desk yesterday (alright, inbox), and it could reveal something interesting about the device.

In the image Apple sent out, the device seems to be lacking a Home button. Seeing as Apple is keen on teasing in its invites what it'll be unveiling -- its invite to the Siri launch read: "Let's Talk iPhone" -- this could be a major clue.

Apple's slogan also hints at some new gesture controls: "We have something you really have to see. And touch." Stop sniggering at the back there.

Previous rumours have suggested Apple will ditch the home button on the tablet -- it was even suggested the iPad 2 would lose the physical button prior to launch. Apple has also showcased multi-touch gestures to developers, one of which is a full hand pinch that takes you back to the homescreen -- exactly the function of the home button.

Considering pretty much everything else is controlled from the screen, it would make sense losing the home button for the iPad. (Not for the iPhone though. Its one-handed operation means the home button makes perfect sense.)

Of course, the picture could just be the iPad on its side, with the screen in landscape mode. But it does seem odd Apple would choose to shoot it that way.

Apple's stock has rocketed past the half-trillion dollar mark since the invites were sent out, according to the Guardian. Expect a flurry of rumours to come our way in the run-up to next Wednesday, but rest assured we'll sort the wheat from the chaff. Why not have a look at our rumour run-down and see which you think will come true?

What would you like to see in an iPad 3? Will you be mourning the home button if it does get the heave-ho? Or will it be good riddance? Let me know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.