Analyst rumor: iPhone 8 ‘function area’ to replace home button

While we’re still months away from finding out exactly what’s what with any new iPhone, the rumor mill is already running at full tilt. Following up on earlier reports of a 5.8-inch edgeless OLED screened device arriving as the “iPhone 8,” well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is telling investors more about what its home button-less front screen could be like.

As explained by AppleInsider and 9to5Mac, the analyst notes that this presumed OLED iPhone with its $ 1,000+ pricetag will be similar in size to the current 4.7-inch iPhone. However, instead of the home button, it will include a “function area” that can also display controls for video or games.

That would keep it matched in style with the recently-released MacBook Pros and their OLED TouchBar, and, the analyst says, reduce the screen size used for everything else to about 5.15-inches. Last year the New York Times reported that the next iPhone would ditch the home button for virtual buttons built into the screen, and this rumor explains how all that could work. Losing the home button could indicate a lack of TouchID, which could be replaced by a fingerprint reader embedded in the display itself, or other biometric technology like face recognition.

Source: Apple Insider, 9to5Mac

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Native Union made a USB hub that blends into your home

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a gadget freak and may need to recharge multiple devices on a daily basis. That’s when you’re greeted by a pile of messy cables plugged into a dull-looking and maybe under-powered USB hub. Cable boxes may hide the ugliness, but they’re bulky and don’t actually solve the issue. Not one to admit defeat, Native Union — the mad folks behind the marble iPhone case — came up with the ultimate solution: a stylish, cylindrical USB hub dubbed Eclipse. On the outside, it looks like a piece of home decor thanks to its wooden top, but it’s really the inside that got our attention: as you touch the top gently, the main body slowly rises up to let you uncoil the cables tucked inside, while the base emits a subtle halo for night-time usage. It’s rather mesmerizing to watch.

The Eclipse offers three standard USB ports — one of which can be flipped to USB-C — which total up to 7.8A of current, and each standard port can go up to 2.4A while the USB-C port maxes out at 3A. There’s no Quick Charge 2.0 or 3.0 magic here (so the voltage stays at 5V), but the high current output is already plentiful for office hour or night time charging. And don’t worry, all the essential electrical protection mechanisms are in place. The device itself supports 110-240V variable voltage input so you can use it anywhere around the world, and it’s attached to a 4-foot long power cable with an electrical plug of your choice in the Kickstarter campaign.

While Native Union makes its own USB cables, the Eclipse is designed to house any cable that are up to 8-foot long. All you have to do is plug one end into the ports on the inside, then wrap each cable around one of the three slots on the cable management part, pop the part back into the cylinder and you’re good to go. To grab a cable, simply tap the top, let the body rise (powered by a motor), unwind your desired cable, and then tap the top again to let it slowly sink back down. This works even if you choose to hang the Eclipse on the wall — because it’s that good-looking — using the bundled wall mount. There’s a 4mm gap between the outer case and the wooden top, which should let most types of USB cables go through.

The Eclipse is already proving to be quite popular on Kickstarter, as it reached its $ 50,000 goal within the first couple of hours after launch. For those who don’t mind waiting until April 2017 for delivery, early birds can grab an Eclipse for $ 49 while everyone else will have to pay $ 50 — which is still a bargain considering that it’ll retail for $ 80 next year.

Source: Kickstarter

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Here’s Apple’s workaround when your iPhone 7 home button fails

The iPhone 7’s non-moving home button may feel odd at first, but it has its perks… especially if it ever stops working. MacRumors forum goer iwayne has shown that the new iPhone will give you an on-screen home button (along with a warning that you may need repairs) if it thinks the physical key is broken. While that’s not much consolation if your phone needs to be fixed, it does mean that you can keep using your device in a relatively normal way while you’re waiting for your Genius Bar appointment.

The technology may be short-lived when there are reports of Apple possibly ditching physical home buttons entirely with the next iPhone. However, it’s not hard to see why Apple would push for a motionless button in the short term. It’s not just the customizable haptic feedback — the new design is theoretically less likely to break (since it doesn’t click down) and reduces the pressure to get an immediate fix. That helps Apple’s bottom line, of course, but it may also make you a happier owner in the long term.

The iPhone 7's home button failure warning

Image credit: iwayne, MacRumors Forums

Via: MacRumors

Source: MacRumors Forums

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Bloomberg: iPhone 7 gets new home button, drops headphone port

Another report has suggested that Apple is taking a different tack with this year’s iPhone. Bloomberg reporter and renowned Apple scooper Mark Gurman has published a story claiming that the new handset will have a design “similar to the 6 and 6s.” We’ve heard this before — it suggests that Apple is holding back on a big aesthetic change until next year, when the iPhone celebrates its 10th birthday. Gurman is also reporting that the next iPhone will ditch the headphone jack — again, something that’s been rumored for some time — switching instead to “connectivity via Bluetooth and the charging port.” (Get ready for lots of Lightning headphones.)

The iPhone is known for its sublime photo-taking capabilities, however recently Android manufacturers — particularly Samsung — have managed to close the gap, if not create leads of their own. Apple is reportedly working on a dual-camera setup for this year’s model which will produce “brighter photos with more detail” by merging separate images shot with each sensor. The configuration will also help to sharpen photos captured in dark conditions, as well as retain image quality as the user zooms in.

Finally, Bloomberg is reporting that the new iPhone will have an updated home button similar to the MacBook’s Force Touch trackpad. Instead of a physical click, the new button will trigger a series of vibrations under the surface. The reasons for this are a little unclear — it could provide new functionality, or simply serve to save some space under the hood.

We’ve heard these rumors before, but Gurman’s story gives them greater weight. If they prove accurate, this year’s iPhone launch will be quite unusual. We’re used to a “tick-tock” release cycle — a numbered iPhone, followed by an iterative “s” model — which would make this year the iPhone 7. A largely unchanged design, similar to an “s” phone, would buck this trend, raising expectations for a more dramatic handset in 2017.

Source: Bloomberg

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