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A Closer Look At The iPhone 8's Home & "Function Area"

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Paul Briden

12/08/2017 – 11:57am

The iPhone 8's virtual Home key and Function Area have been spotted in Apple firmware code

We’ve previously heard plenty of rumours about the iPhone 8 ditching the physical Home key due to its vast expanse of edge-to-edge OLED display real-estate, and we’ve also heard about the so-called “Function Area” which is said to be a specific portion of the display dedicated to taking on the Home key role, as well as, as the title would suggest, a series of functions.

Now we’re getting more of a glimpse into what the software Home key and Function Area might involve.

The info comes courtesy once again of developer Steve Troughton-Smith and his exploration of the Apple HomePod firmware code, which is proving a veritable treasure trove of hints regarding the iPhone 8.

Troughton-Smith has unearthed evidence that the virtual Home key may be re-sizeable and that the Function Area is arranged around it. Taking to Twitter, he stated the following;

We know some facts re iPhone 8 home button area:

• it resizes • indicator can be hidden • no API to change color • tab bars extend under it”

It’s now thought that the Home key will be visible at all times when you’re in the homescreen with a navigation and utility bar arranged around it, then  when you go into full-screen applications it will disappear until you prompt it to return. Depending on how an app’s code is written, it seems plausible that some apps will retain the bar visible when they’re open, while others, such as those where you’ll view content in a full-screen mode, will be able to hide it away. The idea would fit with Ming-chi Kuo’s assertion that the usable area of display space will be 5.15in, meaning the bottom strip is out of bounds for anything other than the navigation bar.

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