One of the strongest rumours surrounding the next version of the iPhone is that Apple will remove the circular home button from the front of the gadget.Now, new pictures have surfaced that appear to show a version of the phone with a completely blank front panel.
Taken in China and obtained by the blog site Apple Insider , the pictures have now been widely circulated around the internet.
The shady pictures look to be taken quickly and without much thought to lighting or presentation. They show what is allegedly a new iPhone with a very different design.
As well as the blank front panel, there is also no evidence of a headphone jack on the bottom of the phone. However, the external speakers on the bottom look similar to previous iPhone models.
It is impossible to verify the authenticity of the pictures and so many tech sites are taking them with a pinch of salt.
However, Apple is widely known to redesign its phones every two years and the iPhone 7 would mark a new design if the company sticks to this plan. Phone manufacturers are constantly trying to make their devices thinner and lighter – and that sometimes means removing features.
Many Android phones don’t include a physical home button as the software is able to present a “soft-touch” key on the screen.
Another Chinese website called Storm reports that the virtual home button will have the same haptic feedback motors used in the MacBook’s trackpad to create the illusion of a Home button, even if it’s really just a flat capacitive surface.
Apple’s home button has been included on every single iPhone since the first one appeared in 2007. Many users have become accustomed to hitting it at any point to return to the homescreen.
If Apple removed it, it could prove one of the most controversial decisions with fans of its technology.