Photos have emerged online purporting to show the front of an iPhone 7 with a touch-sensitive home button flush with the front of the handset.
Ever since the launch of the original iPhone, Apple’s handsets have featured a physical button that users press to return to the home screen, and press and hold for other functions.
But photos passed to mobile tech site mobipicker.com appear to suggest that may no longer be the case for future iPhones.
The white handset in the image above appears to be missing the silver metal ring around the button that has been included in similarly colored iPhone handsets since the iPhone 5s and the introduction of Touch ID fingerprint recognition.
According to the website’s source, the button is level with the rest of the bezel and does not depress like a traditional clickable button. Instead, the button is said to be touch-sensitive, requiring users to perform taps, or tap-hold actions for functions like invoking Siri.
The handset in the photo also appears to have slightly narrower bezels and a repositioned front-facing camera and proximity sensor compared to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
As is often the case, the latest alleged leak cannot be verified. However, some reports have suggested that Apple has been testing a touch-sensitive home button for its upcoming flagship handset.
In March, Apple was also granted a patent for a pressure-sensitive Liquidmetal home button that deforms slightly when pressed, but returns to its normal shape when the user removes their finger or thumb. Apple has annually renewed its exclusive rights to use the malleable alloy since 2010, but has yet to do so in a major way.
Other features rumored to be exclusive to the iPhone 7 and/or iPhone 7 Plus models include a Smart Connector, dual-lens cameras, no 3.5mm headphone jack, repositioned antenna bands, stereo speakers, wireless charging, and a larger battery, but Apple may hold off on some features until its next iPhone with OLED in 2017.
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