Much has been said about the new iPhone potentially not having a home button or Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Now, adding more fuel to the fire, there is a video discovered deep within an unfinished beta of Apple's next big smartphone software update, iOS 11.
The seventh beta build of iOS 11 was released to developers this week, and soon after Guilherme Rambo, who has unearthed a great deal about the next iPhone in recent weeks, came across two videos buried in the software.
One shows how swiping from right to left on the notification panel now opens Control Centre instead of the camera. This is strange, give swiping right to left is a useful way to quickly access the camera when looking at either the notification centre or the phone's lock screen.
But more interesting, Rambo also found a video showing how multitasking can work on an iPhone without a home button. Where the multitasking page is currently accessed with a double-press of the button, this video shows a swipe up performing the same function.
This is how multitasking can be accessed on the iPad in iOS 11, but so far the gesture is not active on iPhones running the unfinished software. It is also worth noting how this version of the multitasking window shows Control Centre icons (like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a button to switch on the torch) to the right, as they are on the iPad.
The video has raised speculation about whether this is how the iPhone 8, which is expected to no longer have a home button, will function. Although the videos have only just been discovered, Rambo says they have been present in iOS 11 since May, and so could be artefacts from a version of iOS 11 never released to developers.
However, Steve Troughton-Smith, another developer who has made several discoveries in the HomePod software accidentally published by Apple, has another theory. He tweeted to say he thinks the gestures shown here are "canned" and no longer intended to be part of iOS 11. "Always fun to see video evidence of canned features in iOS – not something we get to look at normally," he tweeted.
Although nothing has been confirmed by Apple – and won't be until the new phone is revealed later in the year – it is widely believed that the next handset will have an elongated screen covering almost the entire front panel, displacing the iPhone's iconic home button and removing the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Unlocking the phone will, according to numerous reports, be done via an infrared facial recognition system
Should it stick to annual tradition, Apple will reveal the new iPhone at a media event in mid-September.