Report: iPhone 8 to feature iPad-like Dock, redesigned multitasking and new gestures to replace home button

The ‘bezel-less’ iPhone 8 is going to be unveiled in under two weeks, and will be the first iPhone not to feature a physical home button.  A report from Bloomberg provides fresh details on how Apple plans to replace the button with new gestures and navigational elements for the iPhone 8 user interface.

At the bottom of the screen, the display will show a ‘thin bar’ where a physical button normally resides. On the lock screen, users pull this bar upwards to unlock the phone — reminiscent of the iconic ‘slide to unlock’ action that Apple removed in iOS 10. Inside an app, dragging upwards opens a redesigned multitasking UI. It sounds a lot like the new multitasking gestures for iPad we’ve seen in iOS 11 …

With iOS 11 on iPad, users can swipe up to access the dock and keep swiping to enter multitasking. It seems that a similar experience will also come to the new home-button-less OLED iPhone.

Instead of being able to summon the dock from anywhere in the system, iPhone 8 users could drag up a little to launch multitasking or drag up further to jump back to the home screen grid of app icons.

The Bloomberg report says that the multitasking switcher for the iPhone 8 has been redesigned.

Rather than a tight overlapping stack of app cards, the new switcher is a series of standalone cards that users can swipe horizontally through — reverting to an older iOS 7-esque multitasking switcher design.

Concept design videos found in iOS 11 seeds match this description pretty closely:

On the Home Screen itself, the story says that the Dock on the iPhone 8 looks like the iOS 11 iPad Dock: a floating rounded rectangular bar rather than attached to the screen corners. Whilst the iPhone 8 screen is getting ‘noticeably taller’ the Home Screen itself will not see major changes. There will still be six rows of apps per page.

As well documented by now, the iPhone 8 will feature minimal bezels on the left, right and bottom sides but the top edge will feature a cutout notch that houses the earpiece, camera and other sensors. There has been much debate about Apple will handle the notch in the UI. Bloomberg says Apple will not try to hide the notch area: it will be clearly defined and visible in most apps that use standard white iOS UI chrome.

The status bar will be updated to accommodate the notch; elements on the status bar will be split in two. Bloomberg says recent test devices position the time on the left ‘ear’ whilst the right side shows signal bars, WiFi indicator and battery life. It’s not clear where other icons like Location Services and Orientation Lock indicators are placed. Steven Troughton Smith mocked up the reported arrangement:

The big takeaway here is that Apple is pushing towards new gestures and interactions, rather than simply recreating a home button virtually and keeping the same behaviors. The iPhone 8 will mark a notable breakpoint in the company’s phone design and user interface. Read the full article over at Bloomberg.

Apple is set to unveil the OLED iPhone 8 (alongside iterative updates to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and a new Apple TV and cellular Apple Watch) at a press event on September 12. Apple is yet to send official press invites for the event, which may be the first media presentation hosted at Apple’s new Steve Jobs Theater in Apple Park.

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iPhone 8

The direct upgrade to the iPhone 7, featuring a glass back, wireless charging, faster processors, and an improved 12MP camera.

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Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.

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