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Apple Gets Patent For Virtual 'Home' Button

  • Cnet, Tuesday, February 21, 2017 11:57 AM

The iPhone's home button may not be long for this world. Apple has been granted a patent for an "interactive display panel with IR diodes" -- a method that would let users activate a device through a virtual home button placed within the touchscreen. The technology, described in a filing made public Tuesday by the US Patent and Trade Office, could replace the physical home button that's traditionally occupied the space below the iPhone's screen. The patent was first spotted by Apple-tracking site AppleInsider. Ever since Apple co-founder Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007, the round home button has been a focal point for navigating the gadget. But rumors of its demise began to swirl in 2013, when Apple introduced Touch ID, a fingerprint security sensor that allowed users of its iPhone 5S to bypass typing in a password. The Touch ID sensor is built into the home button today.

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