Sending off the home button
March 02, 2012
The iPad home button may be an iconic piece of iPad history, but iconic doesn’t mean practical. People said the scroll wheel was emblematic too, but the iPod received a makeover with touch technology as soon as Apple realized the wheel was a point of failure. Dave Caolo thinks the home button is too important, and likely doesn’t equate it with the forgotten scroll wheel. After all, the wheel only changed form, and was no more complicated to use when it went touch-sensitive.
As Bill Williams was keen to point out, the whole mess isn’t a problem if a dynamic home button appeared based on the iPad’s orientation. We propose to take the idea one step further and provide illumination to the area of the bezel that’s active. This visual cue would remove any sense of confusion a user might have over how to get back to the springboard, and instead of a “push”, perhaps a swipe in a given direction would do the trick just as easily.
Apple stands for sleekness in design, and the home button is a remnant of the old.1 As long as Apple can maintain the intuitive feel of their hardware interfaces, there’s no reason to stick with a home button that’s prone to failure; the home button may be robust for now, but as owners of some older iPhones will tell, the mechanism doesn’t stay perfect forever.
So is the power button, but mechanical interaction is still necessary when electric power-supplied touch isn’t available. ↩