Apple is planning to remove the iPhone home button and replace it with a virtual button capable of reading fingerprints, according to Taiwan-based DigiTimes.
The site reports that sources in the integrated circuit design industry in Taiwan say Apple is developing touch and display driver integration single-chip solutions. The TDDI solution in question would allow for iPhones with even thinner bezels and displays.
Replacing the physical button with an on-screen button would not be unheard-of, as Android competitors have been using virtual buttons for years. The issue is Apple’s Touch ID, dependent on holding the finger against the home button to be scanned and unlock the phone.
If the report is accurate, Apple would be developing a way to move to a virtual button without compromising Touch ID’s ease of use. The move would also mean iPhones would have one less moving part susceptible to wear and breaking.
DigiTimes also notes the company has experience with chip development, having already shifted to designing its own CPUs for iOS devices.