The latest major design leak could be the most drastic of all of Apple's choices for the upcoming iPhone 13.
Apple has been looking into changing the technology and ultimately the design of the body of the iPhones, and it looks like these design changes might debut sooner. One of these is the possible omission of buttons on the device.
According to Apple Insider last April, Apple has applied for a patent to solve their design problem of buttons that disrupt the "continuity of the device housing."
Getting Rid of the iPhone 13 Buttons
Apple's goal is to create disappearing buttons or sliders and that's the title of their patent.
The patent application suggests that the company is investigating "capacitive sensing input devices," which means button-less sensors, basically.
Apple has also expressed belief there is a demand for an improved appearance, as well as functionality and aesthetics. According to the file, aside from disrupting design continuity, mechanical buttons can suffer wear and tear over time. Hence, they are looking for solutions to solve the problem.
Getting rid of the buttons might seem unnecessary, but Apple likens it to the physical keypads of the cellphones of old and the flat screens of smartphones. The aesthetic advantages are a bonus, but there is also the possibility of improved functionality and durability, the company said. Buttons can become traps for dirt and entryways for moisture into the device, a bane of electronics.
From a design perspective, the choice to get rid of physical buttons entirely really rounds out Apple's theme of sleek and minimalist design.
They've already done away with the Home Button, replacing it with their Face ID feature after their iPhone 8 models. The change had some users wary, but of course, Apple always has a knack for making the new integrate so seamlessly with the rest of the experience that users quickly get used it.
remember how confused we all were when we got a iphone with no home button?— Max Iantorno (@MaxIantorno) June 6, 2021
'Invisible Backlit Holes' iPhone 13 Leak
According to Apple Insider, the company is looking into "deflection based capacitive sensing" which allows the buttons to appear invisible because it uses the same material as the housing, and "invisible backlit holes" may take the input selectively visible or invisible to the user.
This could be similar to how the Mac Mini's light indicator turns on an off. When the device is off and the light is off as well, there is no blank space where the light was, rather, it looks like it just vanished.
Cnet also brought up the rumors of the iPhone getting its fingerprint scanner back. But unlike their old fingerprint scanner found in the Home Button, it will live under the surface of the phone's screen, still sticking to the button-less theme.
The lightning port could also be a thing of the past and the new iPhone models could become the first completely portless phone.
Of course, these are all just rumors for now.
It is unsure whether or not the iPhone 13 will be the first to house such a major design change, or if it will be introduced in later iPhone models.
The iPhone 13 is likely to debut early this fall, similar to how they used to schedule their launches before the pandemic. Until that launch, Apple's lips are sealed tight and the only time these rumors will be dispelled is when the new iPhone is unveiled.